discharge

1 of 2

verb

dis·​charge dis-ˈchärj How to pronounce discharge (audio)
ˈdis-ˌchärj
discharged; discharging; discharges

transitive verb

1
: to relieve of a charge, load, or burden:
a
: unload
discharge a cargo ship
b
: to release from an obligation
will be discharged from further payment
c
electrical engineering : to release electrical energy from (something, such as a battery or capacitor) by a discharge (see discharge entry 2 sense 9b)
discharging electricity from a battery
2
a
: to let or put off
discharge passengers
discharge cargo
b
: shoot
discharge an arrow
c
: to release from confinement, custody, or care
discharge a prisoner
discharge a patient
d
: to give outlet or vent to : emit
discharge emotions
vehicles discharging exhaust fumes
3
a(1)
: to dismiss from employment
had to discharge several employees last month
(2)
: to release from service or duty
discharge a soldier
was discharged from the Navy
b
: to get rid of (something, such as a debt or obligation) by performing an appropriate action (such as payment)
failing to discharge their debts
c
law : to set aside or dismiss : annul
discharge a court order
d
: to order (a legislative committee) to end consideration of a bill (see bill entry 4 sense 6) in order to bring it before the house (see house entry 1 sense 6a) for action
4
: to bear and distribute (something, such as the weight of a wall above an opening)
5
: to bleach out or remove (color or dye) in dyeing and printing textiles
6
: to cancel the record of the loan of (a library book) upon return

intransitive verb

1
a
: to throw off or deliver a load, charge, or burden
b
: to release electrical energy by a discharge (see discharge entry 2 sense 9b)
ensure that the electricity discharges safely
2
a
: go off, fire
used of a gun
His weapon discharged.
b
: spread, run
some dyes discharge
c
: to pour forth fluid or other contents
where the river discharges into the ocean
dischargeable
dis-ˈchär-jə-bəl How to pronounce discharge (audio)
ˈdis-ˌchär-
adjective
dischargee noun
discharger
dis-ˈchär-jər How to pronounce discharge (audio)
ˈdis-ˌchär-
noun

discharge

2 of 2

noun

dis·​charge ˈdis-ˌchärj How to pronounce discharge (audio)
dis-ˈchärj
1
a
: the act of relieving of something that oppresses : release
b
: something that discharges or releases
especially : a certification of release or payment
produced the discharge as evidence
2
: the state of being discharged or relieved
3
: the act of discharging or unloading
her discharge from the hospital
4
law : release from confinement
a record of prison discharges
5
: a firing off
the discharge of a weapon
6
a
: a flowing or issuing out
a discharge of spores
a discharge of mucus
also : a rate of flow
controlling the discharge of water
b
: something that is emitted
a purulent discharge
a clear discharge from the eyes and nose
7
law : the act of removing an obligation or liability (see liability sense 2)
received a full discharge from his creditors
8
a
: release or dismissal especially from an office or employment
suing for wrongful discharge
b
: complete separation from military service
her discharge from the Navy
an honorable discharge
9
a
physics : the equalization of a difference of electric potential (see potential entry 2 sense 2c) between two points
b
energy engineering : the conversion of the chemical energy of a battery into electrical energy
Choose the Right Synonym for discharge

perform, execute, discharge, accomplish, achieve, effect, fulfill mean to carry out or into effect.

perform implies action that follows established patterns or procedures or fulfills agreed-upon requirements and often connotes special skill.

performed gymnastics

execute stresses the carrying out of what exists in plan or in intent.

executed the hit-and-run

discharge implies execution and completion of appointed duties or tasks.

discharged his duties

accomplish stresses the successful completion of a process rather than the means of carrying it out.

accomplished everything they set out to do

achieve adds to accomplish the implication of conquered difficulties.

achieve greatness

effect adds to achieve an emphasis on the inherent force in the agent capable of surmounting obstacles.

effected sweeping reforms

fulfill implies a complete realization of ends or possibilities.

fulfilled their ambitions

Example Sentences

Verb She's due to be discharged from the hospital on Wednesday. We had to discharge several employees last week. Thousands of soldiers were discharged after the war. The judge discharged the jury. The ship discharged missiles against enemy targets. The gun failed to discharge. Noun The doctors approved her discharge from the hospital. Several former employees are suing the company for wrongful discharge. After his discharge from the military, he went to college to become a teacher. The damage was caused by accidental discharge of a hunting rifle. a rapid discharge from a gun See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
In some cases, security officials have prevented doctors from completing surgeries or forced them to discharge patients before they were fully treated. Cora Engelbrecht, BostonGlobe.com, 20 Nov. 2022 Psychiatric medicine is a risk-averse business, Wengel said: Hospitals are reluctant to discharge a child if there’s still considerable risk. Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News, 20 Nov. 2022 The debt cancellation program was already on hold, unable to discharge any loan payments because of a temporary stay in a federal appeals court that is reviewing a separate lawsuit brought by six conservative states. Cheyenne Haslett, ABC News, 18 Nov. 2022 With the program blocked, the Biden administration is unable to discharge any student loans until the lower court rules on an injunction request from the six states. Chris Quintana, USA TODAY, 11 Nov. 2022 The administration had previously promised not to discharge any debt under the widespread forgiveness plan until Oct. 23 at the earliest and said that automatic forgiveness would not occur until after Nov. 14. Alicia Adamczyk, Fortune, 24 Oct. 2022 Once the rover team has completed its cache and NASA has approved the plan, a small arm under the rover will begin to discharge the sample tubes. Byeric Hand, science.org, 20 Sep. 2022 Two-stage snow blowers: Also known as dual-stage, these blowers start with a similar augur design but add in an impeller, a fan-like mechanism that helps discharge snow out the chute. Dan Diclerico, Good Housekeeping, 25 Oct. 2022 Periodically, those young stars discharge jets that collide with the pillars’ dust and gas, creating wavy bow shocks similar to those made by a ship moving through water. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 20 Oct. 2022
Noun
There were additional complications that meant another change of hospitals, which delayed his discharge to August 7th. Chris Smith, BGR, 18 Nov. 2022 Johnson enlisted in the Army as a teenager and served nearly five years, including in Iraq, but has been homeless for the 10 years since his honorable discharge. Doug Smithsenior Writer, Los Angeles Times, 16 Nov. 2022 Alongside the search for a career, Grady said has battled addiction since his discharge. Kenneth R. Gosselin, Hartford Courant, 14 Nov. 2022 Achieve zero waste to landfill in all footwear factories, and eliminate the use and discharge of hazardous chemicals. Outside Online, 7 Nov. 2022 After dropping out of high school, Cullen joined the Navy, where he was reportedly bullied and attempted suicide again, resulting in his discharge from the military. Jasmine Washington, Seventeen, 28 Oct. 2022 Levy began his career in accounting, earning his degree while serving in the U.S. Army Reserves until his discharge in 1962. Michaela Zee, Variety, 20 Oct. 2022 Following his discharge from the hospital, Malone posted an amusing shot of himself flipping off the trap door in question and also explained how the mishap occurred in a brief video shared on Twitter. Glenn Rowley, Billboard, 27 Sep. 2022 Carusillo had wanted to stay, but his discharge led to a psychotic episode and, ultimately, his death, his family said. Alexis Stevens, ajc, 7 Sep. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'discharge.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Verb and Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French descharger, from Late Latin discarricare, from Latin dis- + Late Latin carricare to load — more at charge entry 1

First Known Use

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of discharge was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near discharge

Cite this Entry

“Discharge.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discharge. Accessed 29 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

discharge 1 of 2

verb

dis·​charge dis-ˈchärj How to pronounce discharge (audio)
ˈdis-ˌchärj
1
: to relieve of a charge, load, or burden : unload
discharge a ship
2
3
: to set free
discharge a prisoner
4
: to dismiss from service or employment
discharge a soldier
5
: to let go or let off
discharge passengers
6
: to give forth fluid or other contents
this river discharges into the ocean
7
: to get rid of by paying or doing
discharge a debt
discharge a function
discharger noun

discharge

2 of 2

noun

dis·​charge ˈdis-ˌchärj How to pronounce discharge (audio)
dis-ˈchärj
1
a
: the act of discharging
b
: something that discharges
especially : a certification of release or payment
2
: a firing off
3
a
: a flowing out
also : a rate of flow
b
: something that is given forth
a discharge of pus from a wound
4
a
: release or dismissal especially from an office or employment
b
: complete separation from military service
was given an honorable discharge
5
: a flow of electricity (as in lightning or through a gas)

Medical Definition

discharge 1 of 2

verb

discharged; discharging

transitive verb

1
: to release from confinement, custody, or care
discharge a patient from the hospital
2
a
: to give outlet to or emit
a boil discharging pus
b
: to release or give expression to (a pent-up emotion or a repressed impulse)
discharged his anxiety by working out with a punching bag

intransitive verb

: to pour forth fluid or other contents

discharge

2 of 2

noun

1
: the act of relieving of something
discharge of a repressed impulse
2
: release from confinement, custody, or care
returned to work the day after discharge from the hospital
3
: something that is emitted or evacuated
a purulent discharge from a wound
a thick white vaginal discharge

Legal Definition

discharge 1 of 2

transitive verb

1
: to release from an obligation: as
a
: to relieve of a duty under an instrument (as a contract or a negotiable instrument)
also : to render (an instrument) no longer enforceable
a formal instrument…may be discharged by either cancellation or surrender J. D. Calamari and J. M. Perillo
b
: to release (a debtor in bankruptcy) from liability for his or her debts
2
: to release from confinement, custody, or care
discharge a prisoner
3
a
: to dismiss from employment : terminate the employment of
b
: to release from service or duty
discharge a jury
discharge a witness
4
a
: to get rid of (as a debt or obligation) by performing an appropriate action
b
: to fulfill a requirement for
evidence which is required to discharge the burden of going forward W. R. LaFave and A. W. Scott, Jr.
5
: to order (a legislative committee) to end consideration of a bill in order to bring it before the house for action
dischargeability
dis-ˌchär-jə-ˈbi-lə-tē
noun
dischargeable adjective

discharge

2 of 2

noun

dis·​charge ˈdis-ˌchärj How to pronounce discharge (audio)
1
a
: the act of relieving of something that burdens or oppresses : release
b
: something that discharges or releases
especially : a certification of or a document proving release or payment
2
: the state of being discharged or released
a party seeking a total discharge
3
: release from confinement
ordering a conditional discharge of the alien on habeas corpus Harvard Law Review
4
: the act of removing an obligation or liability (as by payment of a debt or performance of a duty)
5
a
: a dismissal from employment or office
constructive discharge
: discharge of an employee effected by making the employee's working conditions so intolerable that he or she reasonably feels compelled to resign
retaliatory discharge
: a wrongful discharge that is done in retaliation for an employee's conduct (as reporting an employer's criminal activity) and that clearly violates public policy
wrongful discharge
: discharge of an employee for illegal reasons or for reasons that are contrary to public policy (as in retaliation for the employee's refusal to engage in unlawful activity)
b
: a release from service or duty

More from Merriam-Webster on discharge

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