dead load


noun Engineering.

See under load(def 11).

Nearby words

  1. dead languages,
  2. dead leg,
  3. dead letter,
  4. dead letter box,
  5. dead lift,
  6. dead loss,
  7. dead mail,
  8. dead man,
  9. dead man walking,
  10. dead man's fingers

Origin of dead load

An Americanism dating back to 1865–70

Origin of load

before 1000; Middle English lode (noun); orig. the same word as lode (Old English lād way, course, carrying); senses influenced by lade


Related formsload·less, adjectivere·load, noun, verbun·der·load, verb (used with object)

Can be confusedload lode

Synonym study

7. Load, burden referred originally to something placed on a person or animal or put into a vehicle for conveyance. Both load and burden are still used in this literal sense, though burden only infrequently, except in such fixed phrases as beast of burden and a ship of 1500 tons burden (carrying capacity). Both words have come to be used figuratively to refer to duties, cares, etc., that are oppressively heavy, and this is now the main meaning of burden : You have taken a load off my mind. Some children are a burden. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for dead load

  • The added material will, as in the previous case, leave the dead-load stress unaltered, or 2·3 tons per square inch.

    The Anatomy of Bridgework|William Henry Thorpe

British Dictionary definitions for dead load


/ (ləʊd) /


verb (mainly tr)

See also loads

Word Origin for load

Old English lād course; in meaning, influenced by lade 1; related to lead 1


the intrinsic invariable weight of a structure, such as a bridge. It may also include any permanent loads attached to the structureAlso called: dead weight Compare live load
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 dead load
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for dead load


[ lōd ]


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.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for dead load


[ lōd ]

The resistance, weight, or power drain sustained by a machine or electrical circuit. Compare effort.
The power output of a generator or power plant.
The amount of a pathogen or toxic substance present in an organism.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with dead load


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