or charge·off

[chahrj-awf, -of]


a write-off, especially of a bad loan by a bank.

Origin of charge-off



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

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

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

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


expense or cost: improvements made at a tenant's own charge.
a fee or price charged: a charge of three dollars for admission.
a pecuniary burden, encumbrance, tax, or lien; cost; expense; liability to pay: After his death there were many charges on his estate.
an entry in an account of something due.
an impetuous onset or attack, as of soldiers.
a signal by bugle, drum, etc., for a military charge.
a duty or responsibility laid upon or entrusted to one.
care, custody, or superintendence: The child was placed in her nurse's charge.
anything or anybody committed to one's care or management: The nurse was careful to let no harm come to her charge.
Ecclesiastical. a parish or congregation committed to the spiritual care of a pastor.
a command or injunction; exhortation.
an accusation: He was arrested on a charge of theft.
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.
the quantity of anything that an apparatus is fitted to hold, or holds, at one time: a charge of coal for a furnace.
a quantity of explosive to be set off at one time.
  1. electric charge.
  2. the process of charging a storage battery.
Slang. a thrill; kick.
Rocketry. grains of a solid propellant, usually including an inhibitor.
a load or burden.
Heraldry. any distinctive mark upon an escutcheon, as an ordinary or device, not considered as belonging to the field; bearing.

Verb Phrases

charge off,
  1. to write off as an expense or loss.
  2. to attribute to: I charged off the blunder to inexperience.
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.

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

British Dictionary definitions for charge off



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 off



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."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for charge off



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 off

charge off


Hurriedly depart, run away, as in After a few minutes, she charged off to the next exhibit. This term alludes to the military meaning of charge, “attack impetuously.” [Early 1500s]


Also, charge against. Consider or count as an accounting loss or expense, as in I'm charging off this purchase to overhead, or Let's charge the new computer against office supplies. [Late 1800s] Also see write off.


Attribute to, blame something for, as in We can charge off these errors to inexperience.


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.