[verb dis-chahrj; noun dis-chahrj, dis-chahrj]

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

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


Origin of discharge

1300–50; Middle English deschargen < Anglo-French descharger, Old French < Late Latin discarricāre, equivalent to dis- dis-1 + carricāre to load; see charge
Related formsdis·charge·a·ble, adjectivedis·charg·er, nounnon·dis·charg·ing, adjective, nounpre·dis·charge, nounpre·dis·charge, verb (used with object), pre·dis·charged, pre·dis·charg·ing.re·dis·charge, verb, re·dis·charged, re·dis·charg·ing.un·dis·charge·a·ble, adjectiveun·dis·charged, adjective

Synonym study

6. See release. 7. See perform.

Synonyms for discharge

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

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Contemporary Examples of discharge

Historical Examples of discharge

British Dictionary definitions for discharge


verb (dɪsˈtʃɑːdʒ)

(tr) to release or allow to gothe hospital discharged the patient
(tr) to dismiss from or relieve of duty, office, employment, etc
to fire or be fired, as a gun
to pour forth or cause to pour forththe boil discharges pus
(tr) to remove (the cargo) from (a boat, etc); unload
(tr) to perform (the duties of) or meet (the demands of an office, obligation, etc)he discharged his responsibilities as mayor
(tr) to relieve oneself of (a responsibility, debt, etc)
(intr) physics
  1. to lose or remove electric charge
  2. to form an arc, spark, or corona in a gas
  3. to take or supply electrical current from a cell or battery
(tr) law to release (a prisoner from custody, etc)
(tr) to remove dye from (a fabric), as by bleaching
(intr) (of a dye or colour) to blur or run
(tr) architect
  1. to spread (weight) evenly over a supporting member
  2. to relieve a member of (excess weight) by distribution of pressure

noun (ˈdɪstʃɑːdʒ, dɪsˈtʃɑːdʒ)

a person or thing that is discharged
  1. dismissal or release from an office, job, institution, etc
  2. the document certifying such release
the fulfilment of an obligation or release from a responsibility or liabilityhonourable discharge
the act of removing a load, as of cargo
a pouring forth of a fluid; emission
  1. the act of firing a projectile
  2. the volley, bullet, missile, etc, fired
  1. a release, as of a person held under legal restraint
  2. an annulment, as of a court order
  1. the act or process of removing or losing charge or of equalizing a potential difference
  2. a transient or continuous conduction of electricity through a gas by the formation and movement of electrons and ions in an applied electric field
  1. the volume of fluid flowing along a pipe or a channel in unit time
  2. the output rate of a plant or piece of machinery, such as a pump
Derived Formsdischargeable, adjectivedischarger, noun
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 discharge

early 14c., "to exempt, exonerate, release," from Old French deschargier (12c., Modern French décharger) "to unload, discharge," from Late Latin discarricare, from dis- "do the opposite of" (see dis-) + carricare "load" (see charge (v.)).

Meaning "to unload, to free from" is late 14c. Of weapons, from 1550s. The electrical sense is first attested 1748. Meaning "to fulfill, to perform one's duties" is from c.1400. Related: Discharged; discharging.


late 14c., "relief from misfortune," see discharge (v.). Meaning "release from work or duty" is from early 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for discharge




To emit a substance, as by excretion or secretion.
To release a patient from custody or care.
To generate an electrical impulse. Used of a neuron.


The act of releasing, emitting, or secreting.
A substance that is excreted or secreted.
The generation of an electrical impulse by a neuron.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for discharge




The conversion of chemical energy to electric energy within a storage battery.
A flow of electricity in a dielectric, especially in a rarefied gas.
A flowing out or pouring forth, as of a bodily fluid; emission or secretion.
A substance or material that is released, emitted, or excreted, especially from the body.


To undergo or cause the release of stored energy or electric charge, as from a battery or capacitor.
To release, emit, or excrete a substance, especially from the body.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.