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[freyt] /freɪt/
goods, cargo, or lading transported for pay, whether by water, land, or air.
the ordinary conveyance or means of transport of goods provided by common carriers (distinguished from express):
Shipping by freight is less expensive.
the charges, fee, or compensation paid for such transportation:
We pay the freight.
(especially in Britain) the cargo, or any part of the cargo, of a vessel; merchandise transported by water.
Chiefly British. transportation of goods by water.
Slang. cost or price, especially when high:
I'd like a larger house, but can't afford the freight.
verb (used with object)
to load; burden:
a story heavily freighted with private meaning.
to load with goods or merchandise for transportation:
It took all night to freight the ship.
to transport as freight; send by freight.
Origin of freight
1350-1400; Middle English freyght (noun) < Middle Dutch or Middle Low German vrecht, variant of vracht. See fraught
Related forms
freightless, adjective
overfreight, verb (used with object)
unfreighted, adjective
1. Freight, cargo, shipment refer to goods being transported from place to place. Freight is the general term for goods transported from one place to another by any means: to send freight from New York to New Orleans. Cargo is the term generally used for goods carried by ship or plane: to send a cargo to Europe. Shipment is a quantity of goods destined for a particular place, no matter how sent: a shipment of potatoes. 3. freightage, haulage. 8. charge. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for freight
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She was to receive a freight of flour, for Cowes and a market.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • "My name is 'Dennis,' if I don't beat that freight," she retorted curtly.

    Good Indian B. M. Bower
  • He had come at twenty-two, beating his way on freight trains.

    The Harbor Ernest Poole
  • There are long lines of freight cars here and snorting locomotives.

    The Harbor Ernest Poole
  • Some of them did not unload, but others dumped piles of freight by the docks.

    The Harbor Ernest Poole
  • It is not an average of freight rates, but is an arbitrary figure.

  • They were not robbing the consignees in this raid upon the freight train.

    The Law-Breakers Ridgwell Cullum
British Dictionary definitions for freight


  1. commercial transport that is slower and cheaper than express
  2. the price charged for such transport
  3. goods transported by this means
  4. (as modifier): freight transport
(mainly Brit) a ship's cargo or part of it
verb (transitive)
to load with goods for transport
(mainly US & Canadian) to convey commercially as or by freight
to load or burden; charge
Derived Forms
freightless, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Middle Dutch vrecht; related to French fret, Spanish flete, Portuguese frete
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for freight

early 13c., fraght, from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German vracht, vrecht, meaning originally "cost of transport" and probably from a lost Old Frisian word, from Proto-Germanic *fra-aihtiz "absolute possession, property" (cf. Old High German freht "earnings"), from *fra-, intensive prefix, + *aik "to be master of, possess," from PIE *aik- (see owe). Meaning "transporting of goods or passengers for money" is from late 14c. Danish fragt, Swedish frakt apparently also are from Frisian. As a verb, from late 14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for freight


Related Terms

pay the freight

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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