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.


27 See price.
30 onslaught, assault.
32 commission, trust.
33 management.
37 indictment, imputation, allegation.
44 cargo, freight.

Related forms

charge·less, adjectiveself-charg·ing, adjective

Can be confused

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

British Dictionary definitions for in charge


/ (tʃɑːdʒ) /



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

Science definitions for in charge


[ chärj ]

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 in charge (1 of 2)

in charge


In a position of leadership or supervision, as in Who's in charge here? or He's the agent in charge at the ticket counter. [Early 1500s]


in charge of. Having control over or responsibility for, as in You're in charge of making the salad. [Late 1500s]


in the charge of; in the care of. Under someone's care or supervision, as in We left the children in the charge of their grandparents. [Mid-1800s]

Idioms and Phrases with in charge (2 of 2)


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.