- the part of a cargo producing revenue or income, usually expressed in weight.
- the number of paying passengers, as on an airplane.
- Aerospace, Military.
- the bomb load, warhead, cargo, or passengers of an aircraft, a rocket, missile, etc., for delivery at a target or destination.
- the total complement of equipment carried by a spacecraft for the performance of a particular mission in space.
- the explosive energy of the warhead of a missile or of the bomb load of an aircraft: a payload of 50 megatons.
Origin of payload
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for payload
There is, of course, cheapness to be considered -- the dollar per kilogram bill for putting a payload into low earth orbit.Up to a Point: A 'Space Corvette' in Every Garage
P. J. O’Rourke
September 6, 2014
The X-37B has a payload bay about the size of a pickup truck bed.Will The Pentagon’s Secret Space Plane Ever Return to Earth?
April 7, 2014
According to the Israeli press, the Eitan can fly for 20 straight hours and carry a payload of one ton.Israel's Secret Iran Attack Plan: Electronic Warfare
November 16, 2011
And I have only about twice the fuel supply you carry for a 100-ton payload.Atom Drive
Charles Louis Fontenay
All the wrecks nest there while waiting hopefully for a payload or a grubstake.Turnover Point
"We could have postponed recovering the payload and helped you," Scotty said reproachfully.The Flying Stingaree
Harold Leland Goodwin
Once the initial shock had passed, the body became an object only, a thing, a payload he had to deliver.Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town
But those landing rockets and Lieutenant Commander Brown constituted all its payload.Space Tug
- that part of a cargo earning revenue
- the passengers, cargo, or bombs carried by an aircraft
- the equipment carried by a rocket, satellite, or spacecraft
- the explosive power of a warhead, bomb, etc, carried by a missile or aircrafta missile carrying a 50-megaton payload
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
Word Origin and History for payload
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper