1. anything put in or on something for conveyance or transportation; freight; cargo: The truck carried a load of watermelons.
  2. the quantity that can be or usually is carried at one time, as in a cart.
  3. this quantity taken as a unit of measure or weight or a discrete quantity (usually used in combination): carload; wagonload.
  4. the quantity borne or sustained by something; burden: a tree weighed down by its load of fruit.
  5. the weight supported by a structure or part.
  6. the amount of work assigned to or to be done by a person, team, department, machine, or mechanical system: a reasonable load of work.
  7. something that weighs down or oppresses like a burden; onus: Supporting her younger brothers has been a heavy load for her.
  8. loads, Informal. a great quantity or number: loads of fun; loads of people.
  9. the charge for a firearm.
  10. a commission charged to buyers of mutual-fund shares.
  11. Engineering. any of the forces that a structure is calculated to oppose, comprising any unmoving and unvarying force (dead load), any load from wind or earthquake, and any other moving or temporary force (live load).
  12. Electricity.
    1. the power delivered by a generator, motor, power station, or transformer.
    2. a device that receives power.
  13. Mechanics. the external resistance overcome by an engine, dynamo, or the like, under given conditions, measured and expressed in terms of the power required.
  14. Geology. the burden of sediment being carried by a stream or river.Compare bed load.
  15. Slang. a sufficient amount of liquor drunk to cause intoxication: He’s got a load on tonight.

verb (used with object)

  1. to put a load on or in; fill: to load a ship.
  2. to supply abundantly, lavishly, or excessively with something (often followed by down): They loaded us down with gifts.
  3. to weigh down, burden, or oppress (often followed by down, with, on, etc.): to feel loaded down with responsibilities; to load oneself with obligations.
  4. to insert a charge, projectile, etc., into (a firearm).
  5. to place (film, tape, etc.) into a camera or other device: He loaded the film into the camera.
  6. to place film, tape, etc., into (a camera or other device): How do you load this camera?
  7. to take on as a load: a ship loading coal.
  8. to add to the weight of, sometimes fraudulently: The silver candlesticks were loaded with lead.
  9. Insurance. to increase (the net premium) by adding charges, as for expenses.
  10. to add additional or prejudicial meaning to (a statement, question, etc.): The attorney kept loading his questions in the hope of getting the reply he wanted.
  11. to overcharge (a word, expression, etc.) with extraneous values of emotion, sentiment, or the like: emotion that loads any reference to home, flag, and mother.
  12. to weight (dice) so that they will always come to rest with particular faces upward.
  13. Baseball. to have or put runners at (first, second, and third bases): They loaded the bases with two out in the eighth inning.
  14. Fine Arts.
    1. to place a large amount of pigment on (a brush).
    2. to apply a thick layer of pigment to (a canvas).
  15. Metalworking.
    1. (of metal being deep-drawn) to become welded to (the drawing tool).
    2. (of material being ground) to fill the depressions in the surface of (a grinding wheel).
    3. (in powder metallurgy) to fill the cavity of (a die).
  16. Computers.
    1. to bring (a program or data) into main storage from external or auxiliary storage.
    2. to place (an input/output medium) into an appropriate device, as by inserting a disk into a disk drive.
  17. Electricity. to add (a power-absorbing device) to an electric circuit.

verb (used without object)

  1. to put on or take on a load, as of passengers or goods: The bus usually loads at the side door.
  2. to load a firearm.
  3. to enter a carrier or conveyance (usually followed by into): The students loaded quickly into the buses.
  4. to become filled or occupied: The ship loaded with people in only 15 minutes.


  1. loads, Informal. very much; a great deal: Thanks loads. It would help loads if you sent some money.


  1. get a load of, Slang.
    1. to look at; notice; observe.
    2. to listen to with interest: Did you get a load of what she said?
  2. load the dice, to put someone or something in a advantageous or disadvantageous position; affect or influence the result: Lack of sufficient education loaded the dice against him as a candidate for the job.


  1. something to be borne or conveyed; weight
    1. the usual amount borne or conveyed
    2. (in combination)a carload
  2. something that weighs down, oppresses, or burdensthat’s a load off my mind
  3. a single charge of a firearm
  4. the weight that is carried by a structureSee also dead load, live load
  5. electrical engineering electronics
    1. a device that receives or dissipates the power from an amplifier, oscillator, generator, or some other source of signals
    2. the power delivered by a machine, generator, circuit, etc
  6. the force acting on a component in a mechanism or structure
  7. the resistance overcome by an engine or motor when it is driving a machine, etc
  8. an external force applied to a component or mechanism
  9. a load of informal a quantity ofa load of nonsense
  10. get a load of informal pay attention to
  11. have a load on US and Canadian slang to be intoxicated
  12. shoot one’s load slang (of a man) to ejaculate at orgasm

verb (mainly tr)

  1. (also intr) to place or receive (cargo, goods, etc) upon (a ship, lorry, etc)
  2. to burden or oppress
  3. to supply or beset (someone) with in abundance or overwhelminglythey loaded her with gifts
  4. to cause to be biasedto load a question
  5. (also intr) to put an ammunition charge into (a firearm)
  6. photog to position (a film, cartridge, or plate) in (a camera)
  7. to weight or bias (a roulette wheel, dice, etc)
  8. insurance to increase (a premium) to cover expenses, etc
  9. to draw power from (an electrical device, such as a generator)
  10. to add material of high atomic number to (concrete) to increase its effectiveness as a radiation shield
  11. to increase the power output of (an electric circuit)
  12. to increase the work required from (an engine or motor)
  13. to apply force to (a mechanism or component)
  14. computing to transfer (a program) to a memory
  15. load the dice
    1. to add weights to dice in order to bias them
    2. to arrange to have a favourable or unfavourable position

n.“that which is laid upon a person or beast, burden,” c.1200, from Old English lad “way, course, carrying,” from Proto-Germanic *laitho (cf. Old High German leita, German leite, Old Norse leið “way, course”); related to Old English lædan “to guide,” from PIE *leit- “to go forth” (see lead (v.)). Sense shifted 13c. to supplant words based on lade, to which it is not etymologically connected; original association with “guide” is preserved in lodestone. Meaning “amount customarily loaded at one time” is from c.1300. Figurative sense of “burden weighing on the mind, heart, or soul” is first attested 1590s. Meaning “amount of work” is from 1946. Colloquial loads “lots, heaps” is attested from c.1600. Phrase take a load off (one’s) feet “sit down, relax” is from 1914, American English. Get a load of “take a look at” is American English colloquial, attested from 1929. v.late 15c., “to place in or on a vehicle,” from load (n.). Transitive sense of “to put a load in or on” is from c.1500; of firearms from 1620s. Of a vehicle, “to fill with passengers,” from 1832. Related: Loaded; loaden (obs.); loading. n.

  1. A departure from normal body content, as of water, salt, or heat. A positive load is a quantity in excess of the normal; a negative load is a deficit.

  1. The resistance, weight, or power drain sustained by a machine or electrical circuit. Compare effort.
  2. The power output of a generator or power plant.
  3. The amount of a pathogen or toxic substance present in an organism.

In addition to the idioms beginning with load

  • loaded for bear
  • loaded question
  • load off one’s feet
  • load off one’s mind, a
  • load the dice
  • also see:

  • bricks shy of a load
  • carbo load
  • get a load of
  • take the load off
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