verb (used with object), charged, charg·ing.

  1. to impose or ask as a price or fee: That store charges $25 for leather gloves.
  2. to impose on or ask of (someone) a price or fee: He didn’t charge me for it.
  3. to defer payment for (a purchase) until a bill is rendered by the creditor: The store let me charge the coat.
  4. to hold liable for payment; enter a debit against.
  5. to attack by rushing violently against: The cavalry charged the enemy.
  6. to accuse formally or explicitly (usually followed by with): They charged him with theft.
  7. to impute; ascribe the responsibility for: He charged the accident to his own carelessness.
  8. to instruct authoritatively, as a judge does a jury.
  9. to lay a command or injunction upon: He charged his secretary with the management of his correspondence.
  10. to fill or furnish (a thing) with the quantity, as of powder or fuel, that it is fitted to receive: to charge a musket.
  11. to supply with a quantity of electric charge or electrical energy: to charge a storage battery.
  12. to change the net amount of positive or negative electric charge of (a particle, body, or system).
  13. to suffuse, as with emotion: The air was charged with excitement.
  14. to fill (air, water, etc.) with other matter in a state of diffusion or solution: The air was charged with pollen.
  15. Metallurgy. to load (materials) into a furnace, converter, etc.
  16. to load or burden (the mind, heart, etc.): His mind was charged with weighty matters.
  17. to put a load or burden on or in.
  18. to record the loan of, as books or other materials from a library (often followed by out): The librarian will charge those books at the front desk.
  19. to borrow, as books or other materials from a library (often followed by out): How many magazines may I charge at one time?
  20. Heraldry. to place charges on (an escutcheon).

verb (used without object), charged, charg·ing.

  1. to make an onset; rush, as to an attack.
  2. to place the price of a thing to one’s debit.
  3. to require payment: to charge for a service.
  4. to make a debit, as in an account.
  5. (of dogs) to lie down at command.


  1. expense or cost: improvements made at a tenant’s own charge.
  2. a fee or price charged: a charge of three dollars for admission.
  3. a pecuniary burden, encumbrance, tax, or lien; cost; expense; liability to pay: After his death there were many charges on his estate.
  4. an entry in an account of something due.
  5. an impetuous onset or attack, as of soldiers.
  6. a signal by bugle, drum, etc., for a military charge.
  7. a duty or responsibility laid upon or entrusted to one.
  8. care, custody, or superintendence: The child was placed in her nurse’s charge.
  9. anything or anybody committed to one’s care or management: The nurse was careful to let no harm come to her charge.
  10. Ecclesiastical. a parish or congregation committed to the spiritual care of a pastor.
  11. a command or injunction; exhortation.
  12. an accusation: He was arrested on a charge of theft.
  13. Law. an address by a judge to a jury at the close of a trial, instructing it as to the legal points, the weight of evidence, etc., affecting the verdict in the case.
  14. the quantity of anything that an apparatus is fitted to hold, or holds, at one time: a charge of coal for a furnace.
  15. a quantity of explosive to be set off at one time.
  16. Electricity.
    1. electric charge.
    2. the process of charging a storage battery.
  17. Slang. a thrill; kick.
  18. Rocketry. grains of a solid propellant, usually including an inhibitor.
  19. a load or burden.
  20. Heraldry. any distinctive mark upon an escutcheon, as an ordinary or device, not considered as belonging to the field; bearing.

Verb Phrases

  1. charge off,
    1. to write off as an expense or loss.
    2. to attribute to: I charged off the blunder to inexperience.
  2. charge up, Informal.
    1. to agitate, stimulate, or excite: a fiery speaker who can charge up an audience.
    2. to put or be under the influence of narcotic drugs.
  1. in charge,
    1. in command; having supervisory power.
    2. British.under arrest; in or into the custody of the police.
  2. in charge of,
    1. having the care or supervision of: She is in charge of two libraries.
    2. Also in the charge of.under the care or supervision of: The books are in the charge of the accounting office.


  1. to set or demand (a price)he charges too much for his services
  2. (tr) to hold financially liable; enter a debit against
  3. (tr) to enter or record as an obligation against a person or his account
  4. (tr) to accuse or impute a fault to (a person, etc), as formally in a court of law
  5. (tr) to command; place a burden upon or assign responsibility toI was charged to take the message to headquarters
  6. to make a rush at or sudden attack upon (a person or thing)
  7. (tr) to fill (a receptacle) with the proper or appropriate quantity
  8. (often foll by up) to cause (an accumulator, capacitor, etc) to take or store electricity or (of an accumulator) to have electricity fed into it
  9. to fill or suffuse or to be filled or suffused with matter by dispersion, solution, or absorptionto charge water with carbon dioxide
  10. (tr) to fill or suffuse with feeling, emotion, etcthe atmosphere was charged with excitement
  11. (tr) law (of a judge) to address (a jury) authoritatively
  12. (tr) to load (a firearm)
  13. (tr) to aim (a weapon) in position ready for use
  14. (tr) heraldry to paint (a shield, banner, etc) with a charge
  15. (intr) (of hunting dogs) to lie down at command


  1. a price charged for some article or service; cost
  2. a financial liability, such as a tax
  3. a debt or a book entry recording it
  4. an accusation or allegation, such as a formal accusation of a crime in law
    1. an onrush, attack, or assault
    2. the call to such an attack in battle
  5. custody or guardianship
  6. a person or thing committed to someone’s care
    1. a cartridge or shell
    2. the explosive required to discharge a firearm or other weapon
    3. an amount of explosive material to be detonated at any one time
  7. the quantity of anything that a receptacle is intended to hold
  8. physics
    1. the attribute of matter by which it responds to electromagnetic forces responsible for all electrical phenomena, existing in two forms to which the signs negative and positive are arbitrarily assigned
    2. a similar property of a body or system determined by the extent to which it contains an excess or deficiency of electrons
    3. a quantity of electricity determined by the product of an electric current and the time for which it flows, measured in coulombs
    4. the total amount of electricity stored in a capacitor
    5. the total amount of electricity held in an accumulator, usually measured in ampere-hoursSymbol: q, Q
  9. a load or burden
  10. a duty or responsibility; control
  11. a command, injunction, or order
  12. slang a thrill
  13. law the address made by a judge to the jury at the conclusion of the evidence
  14. heraldry a design, device, or image depicted on heraldic armsa charge of three lions
  15. the solid propellant used in rockets, sometimes including the inhibitor
  16. in charge in command
  17. in charge of
    1. having responsibility for
    2. USunder the care of

c.1200, “a load, a weight,” from Old French charge “load, burden; imposition,” from chargier “to load, to burden” (see charge (v.)). Meaning “responsibility, burden” is mid-14c. (e.g. take charge, late 14c.; in charge, 1510s), which progressed to “pecuniary burden, cost, burden of expense” (mid-15c.), and then to “price demanded for service or goods” (1510s). Legal sense of “accusation” is late 15c.; earlier “injunction, order” (late 14c.). Electrical sense is from 1767. Slang meaning “thrill, kick” (American English) is from 1951.


early 13c., “to load, fill,” from Old French chargier “to load, burden, weigh down,” from Late Latin carricare “to load a wagon or cart,” from Latin carrus “wagon” (see car). Senses of “entrust,” “command,” “accuse” all emerged in Middle English and were found in Old French. Sense of “rush in to attack” is 1560s, perhaps through earlier meaning of “load a weapon” (1540s). Related: Charged; charging. Chargé d’affaires was borrowed from French, 1767, literally “charged with affairs.”

  1. A fundamental property of the elementary particles of which matter is made that gives rise to attractive and repulsive forces. There are two kinds of charge: color charge and electric charge. See more at color charge electric charge.
  2. The amount of electric charge contained in an object, particle, or region of space.

In addition to the idioms beginning with charge

  • charge off
  • charge up
  • charge with

also see:

  • carrying charge
  • get a bang (charge) out of
  • in charge
  • in charge of
  • take charge
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