the act of a person or thing that loads.
that with which something is loaded; load, burden, or charge.
Electricity. the process of adding reactance to a telephone circuit, radio antenna, etc.
Aeronautics. the ratio of the gross weight of an airplane to engine power (power loading), wing span (span loading), or wing area (wing loading).
Insurance. an addition to the net premium, to cover expenses and allow a margin for contingencies and profit.

Nearby words

  1. loaded,
  2. loaded for bear,
  3. loaded question,
  4. loader,
  5. loadie,
  6. loading coil,
  7. loading program,
  8. loadmaster,
  9. loads,
  10. loadspace

Origin of loading

late Middle English word dating back to 1425–75; see origin at load, -ing1




anything put in or on something for conveyance or transportation; freight; cargo: The truck carried a load of watermelons.
the quantity that can be or usually is carried at one time, as in a cart.
this quantity taken as a unit of measure or weight or a discrete quantity (usually used in combination): carload; wagonload.
the quantity borne or sustained by something; burden: a tree weighed down by its load of fruit.
the weight supported by a structure or part.
the amount of work assigned to or to be done by a person, team, department, machine, or mechanical system: a reasonable load of work.
something that weighs down or oppresses like a burden; onus: Supporting her younger brothers has been a heavy load for her.
loads, Informal. a great quantity or number: loads of fun; loads of people.
the charge for a firearm.
a commission charged to buyers of mutual-fund shares.
Engineering. any of the forces that a structure is calculated to oppose, comprising any unmoving and unvarying force (dead load), any load from wind or earthquake, and any other moving or temporary force (live load).
  1. the power delivered by a generator, motor, power station, or transformer.
  2. a device that receives power.
Mechanics. the external resistance overcome by an engine, dynamo, or the like, under given conditions, measured and expressed in terms of the power required.
Geology. the burden of sediment being carried by a stream or river.Compare bed load.
Slang. a sufficient amount of liquor drunk to cause intoxication: He's got a load on tonight.

verb (used with object)

to put a load on or in; fill: to load a ship.
to supply abundantly, lavishly, or excessively with something (often followed by down): They loaded us down with gifts.
to weigh down, burden, or oppress (often followed by down, with, on, etc.): to feel loaded down with responsibilities; to load oneself with obligations.
to insert a charge, projectile, etc., into (a firearm).
to place (film, tape, etc.) into a camera or other device: He loaded the film into the camera.
to place film, tape, etc., into (a camera or other device): How do you load this camera?
to take on as a load: a ship loading coal.
to add to the weight of, sometimes fraudulently: The silver candlesticks were loaded with lead.
Insurance. to increase (the net premium) by adding charges, as for expenses.
to add additional or prejudicial meaning to (a statement, question, etc.): The attorney kept loading his questions in the hope of getting the reply he wanted.
to overcharge (a word, expression, etc.) with extraneous values of emotion, sentiment, or the like: emotion that loads any reference to home, flag, and mother.
to weight (dice) so that they will always come to rest with particular faces upward.
Baseball. to have or put runners at (first, second, and third bases): They loaded the bases with two out in the eighth inning.
Fine Arts.
  1. to place a large amount of pigment on (a brush).
  2. to apply a thick layer of pigment to (a canvas).
  1. (of metal being deep-drawn) to become welded to (the drawing tool).
  2. (of material being ground) to fill the depressions in the surface of (a grinding wheel).
  3. (in powder metallurgy) to fill the cavity of (a die).
  1. to bring (a program or data) into main storage from external or auxiliary storage.
  2. to place (an input/output medium) into an appropriate device, as by inserting a disk into a disk drive.
Electricity. to add (a power-absorbing device) to an electric circuit.

verb (used without object)

to put on or take on a load, as of passengers or goods: The bus usually loads at the side door.
to load a firearm.
to enter a carrier or conveyance (usually followed by into): The students loaded quickly into the buses.
to become filled or occupied: The ship loaded with people in only 15 minutes.


loads, Informal. very much; a great deal: Thanks loads. It would help loads if you sent some money.

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.

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

Examples from the Web for loading

British Dictionary definitions for loading



a load or burden; weight
the addition of an inductance to electrical equipment, such as a transmission line or aerial, to improve its performanceSee loading coil
an addition to an insurance premium to cover expenses, provide a safer profit margin, etc
the ratio of the gross weight of an aircraft to its engine power (power loading), wing area (wing loading), or some other parameter, or of the gross weight of a helicopter to its rotor disc area (disc loading)
psychol the correlation of a factor, such as a personality trait, with a performance score derived from a psychological test
material, such as china clay or size, added to paper, textiles, or similar materials to produce a smooth surface, increase weight, etc
Australian and NZ a payment made in addition to a basic wage or salary to reward special skills, compensate for unfavourable conditions, etc



something to be borne or conveyed; weight
  1. the usual amount borne or conveyed
  2. (in combination)a carload
something that weighs down, oppresses, or burdensthat's a load off my mind
a single charge of a firearm
the weight that is carried by a structureSee also dead load, live load
electrical engineering electronics
  1. a device that receives or dissipates the power from an amplifier, oscillator, generator, or some other source of signals
  2. the power delivered by a machine, generator, circuit, etc
the force acting on a component in a mechanism or structure
the resistance overcome by an engine or motor when it is driving a machine, etc
an external force applied to a component or mechanism
a load of informal a quantity ofa load of nonsense
get a load of informal pay attention to
have a load on US and Canadian slang to be intoxicated
shoot one's load slang (of a man) to ejaculate at orgasm

verb (mainly tr)

(also intr) to place or receive (cargo, goods, etc) upon (a ship, lorry, etc)
to burden or oppress
to supply or beset (someone) with in abundance or overwhelminglythey loaded her with gifts
to cause to be biasedto load a question
(also intr) to put an ammunition charge into (a firearm)
photog to position (a film, cartridge, or plate) in (a camera)
to weight or bias (a roulette wheel, dice, etc)
insurance to increase (a premium) to cover expenses, etc
to draw power from (an electrical device, such as a generator)
to add material of high atomic number to (concrete) to increase its effectiveness as a radiation shield
to increase the power output of (an electric circuit)
to increase the work required from (an engine or motor)
to apply force to (a mechanism or component)
computing to transfer (a program) to a memory
load the dice
  1. to add weights to dice in order to bias them
  2. to arrange to have a favourable or unfavourable position
See also loads

Word Origin for load

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

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 loading
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for loading




The administration of a substance for the purpose of testing metabolic function.




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 loading



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 loading


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.