in charge,
    1. in command; having supervisory power.
    2. British.under arrest; in or into the custody of the police.
    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.

Origin of charge

1175–1225; 1950–55 for def 39; (v.) Middle English chargen < Anglo-French, Old French charg(i)er < Late Latin carricāre to load a wagon, equivalent to carr(us) wagon (see car1) + -icā- v. suffix. + -re infinitive ending; (noun) Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French, noun derivative of the v.
Related formscharge·less, adjectiveself-charg·ing, adjective
Can be confusedaccuse allege charge

Synonyms for charge

5. assault. 6. indict, arraign, impeach. 9. enjoin, exhort, urge, bid, require, order. 27. See price. 30. onslaught, assault. 32. commission, trust. 33. management. 37. indictment, imputation, allegation. 44. cargo, freight.

Antonyms for charge


[shahr-zhey, shahr-zhey; French shar-zhey]

noun, plural char·gés [shahr-zheyz, shahr-zheyz; French shar-zhey] /ʃɑrˈʒeɪz, ˈʃɑr ʒeɪz; French ʃarˈʒeɪ/.

a chargé d'affaires.

Origin of chargé

by shortening Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for charge

Contemporary Examples of charge

Historical Examples of charge

  • The vice president in charge of programs dropped into the 205studio that afternoon and watched them work for over an hour.

  • Vegetables obtain their nourishment from mineral substances, which they reduce, de-oxydize, and charge with solar energy.

  • I wish th' privilege iv standin' on me head an' playin' "A charge to keep I have" on the accorjeen with me feet.

    Mr. Dooley Says

    Finley Dunne

  • I thought so too, but I knew in the meantime that it would please Susan greatly to have charge of the little fellow.

  • Within fifty yards of the coppice the order to charge was given.

    The Amateur Army

    Patrick MacGill

British Dictionary definitions for charge



to set or demand (a price)he charges too much for his services
(tr) to hold financially liable; enter a debit against
(tr) to enter or record as an obligation against a person or his account
(tr) to accuse or impute a fault to (a person, etc), as formally in a court of law
(tr) to command; place a burden upon or assign responsibility toI was charged to take the message to headquarters
to make a rush at or sudden attack upon (a person or thing)
(tr) to fill (a receptacle) with the proper or appropriate quantity
(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
to fill or suffuse or to be filled or suffused with matter by dispersion, solution, or absorptionto charge water with carbon dioxide
(tr) to fill or suffuse with feeling, emotion, etcthe atmosphere was charged with excitement
(tr) law (of a judge) to address (a jury) authoritatively
(tr) to load (a firearm)
(tr) to aim (a weapon) in position ready for use
(tr) heraldry to paint (a shield, banner, etc) with a charge
(intr) (of hunting dogs) to lie down at command


a price charged for some article or service; cost
a financial liability, such as a tax
a debt or a book entry recording it
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
custody or guardianship
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
the quantity of anything that a receptacle is intended to hold
  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
a load or burden
a duty or responsibility; control
a command, injunction, or order
slang a thrill
law the address made by a judge to the jury at the conclusion of the evidence
heraldry a design, device, or image depicted on heraldic armsa charge of three lions
the solid propellant used in rockets, sometimes including the inhibitor
in charge in command
in charge of
  1. having responsibility for
  2. USunder the care of

Word Origin for charge

C13: from Old French chargier to load, from Late Latin carricāre; see carry
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 charge

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."


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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for charge



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.
The amount of electric charge contained in an object, particle, or region of space.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with charge


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
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.