[ verb dis-chahrj; noun dis-chahrj, dis-chahrj ]
See synonyms for: dischargedischargeddischarging on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object),dis·charged, dis·charg·ing.
  1. to relieve of a charge or load; unload: to discharge a ship.

  2. to remove or send forth: They discharged the cargo at New York.

  1. to fire or shoot (a firearm or missile): to discharge a gun.

  2. to pour forth; emit: to discharge oil;to discharge a stream of invective.

  3. to relieve oneself of (an obligation, burden, etc.).

  4. to relieve of obligation, responsibility, etc.

  5. to fulfill, perform, or execute (a duty, function, etc.).

  6. to relieve or deprive of office, employment, etc.; dismiss from service.

  7. to release, send away, or allow to go (often followed by from): The children were discharged early from school. They discharged him from prison.

  8. to pay (a debt).

  9. Law.

    • to release (a defendant, especially one under confinement).

    • to release (a person declared bankrupt) from former debts.

    • to cancel (a contract, debt, or other obligation).

    • to release (bail) back to the one who posted it.

  10. (in a legislative body) to order (a committee) to cease further consideration of a bill so that it can be voted on.

  11. Electricity. to rid (a battery, capacitor, etc.) of a charge of electricity.

  12. Dyeing. to free from a dye, as by chemical bleaching.

verb (used without object),dis·charged, dis·charg·ing.
  1. to get rid of a burden or load.

  2. to deliver a charge or load.

  1. to pour forth.

  2. to go off or fire, as a firearm or missile.

  3. to blur or run, as a color or dye.

  4. Electricity. to lose or give up a charge of electricity.

  1. the act of discharging a ship, load, etc.

  2. the act of firing a weapon, as an arrow by drawing and releasing the string of the bow, or a gun by exploding the charge of powder.

  1. a sending or coming forth, as of water from a pipe; ejection; emission.

  2. the rate or amount of such issue.

  3. something sent forth or emitted.

  4. a relieving, ridding, or getting rid of something of the nature of a charge.

  5. Law.

    • an acquittal or exoneration.

    • an annulment, as of a court order.

    • the freeing of one held under legal process.

  6. a relieving or being relieved of obligation or liability; fulfillment of an obligation.

  7. the payment of a debt.

  8. a release or dismissal, as from prison, an office, or employment.

  9. a certificate of such a release or a certificate of release from obligation or liability.

  10. the act or process of ordering a legislative committee to cease further consideration of a bill so that it can be voted on.

  11. Military.

    • the separation of a person from military service.

    • a certificate of such separation.

  12. Electricity.

    • the removal or transference of an electric charge, as by the conversion of chemical energy to electrical energy.

    • the equalization of a difference of potential, as between two terminals.

Origin of discharge

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English deschargen, from Anglo-French descharger, Old French, from Late Latin discarricāre, equivalent to dis- dis-1 + carricāre “to load”; see charge

synonym study For discharge

6. See release. 7. See perform.

Other words for discharge

Other words from discharge

  • dis·charge·a·ble, adjective
  • dis·charg·er, noun
  • non·dis·charg·ing, adjective, noun
  • pre·dis·charge, noun
  • pre·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, adjective

Words Nearby discharge

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use discharge in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for discharge


  1. (tr) to release or allow to go: the hospital discharged the patient

  2. (tr) to dismiss from or relieve of duty, office, employment, etc

  1. to fire or be fired, as a gun

  2. to pour forth or cause to pour forth: the boil discharges pus

  3. (tr) to remove (the cargo) from (a boat, etc); unload

  4. (tr) to perform (the duties of) or meet (the demands of an office, obligation, etc): he discharged his responsibilities as mayor

  5. (tr) to relieve oneself of (a responsibility, debt, etc)

  6. (intr) physics

    • to lose or remove electric charge

    • to form an arc, spark, or corona in a gas

    • to take or supply electrical current from a cell or battery

  7. (tr) law to release (a prisoner from custody, etc)

  8. (tr) to remove dye from (a fabric), as by bleaching

  9. (intr) (of a dye or colour) to blur or run

  10. (tr) architect

    • to spread (weight) evenly over a supporting member

    • to relieve a member of (excess weight) by distribution of pressure

noun(ˈdɪstʃɑːdʒ, dɪsˈtʃɑːdʒ)
  1. a person or thing that is discharged

    • dismissal or release from an office, job, institution, etc

    • the document certifying such release

  1. the fulfilment of an obligation or release from a responsibility or liability: honourable discharge

  2. the act of removing a load, as of cargo

  3. a pouring forth of a fluid; emission

    • the act of firing a projectile

    • the volley, bullet, missile, etc, fired

  4. law

    • a release, as of a person held under legal restraint

    • an annulment, as of a court order

  5. physics

    • the act or process of removing or losing charge or of equalizing a potential difference

    • a transient or continuous conduction of electricity through a gas by the formation and movement of electrons and ions in an applied electric field

    • the volume of fluid flowing along a pipe or a channel in unit time

    • the output rate of a plant or piece of machinery, such as a pump

Derived forms of discharge

  • dischargeable, adjective
  • discharger, 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

Scientific definitions for discharge


[ dĭs-chärj ]

  1. The conversion of chemical energy to electric energy within a storage battery.

  2. A flow of electricity in a dielectric, especially in a rarefied gas.

  1. A flowing out or pouring forth, as of a bodily fluid; emission or secretion.

  2. A substance or material that is released, emitted, or excreted, especially from the body.

  1. To undergo or cause the release of stored energy or electric charge, as from a battery or capacitor.

  2. 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.