[ pey-lohd ]
See synonyms for payload on
  1. the part of a cargo producing revenue or income, usually expressed in weight.

  2. the number of paying passengers, as on an airplane.

  1. Aerospace, Military.

    • the bomb load, warhead, cargo, or passengers of an aircraft, a rocket, missile, etc., for delivery at a target or destination.

    • the total complement of equipment carried by a spacecraft for the performance of a particular mission in space.

    • the explosive energy of the warhead of a missile or of the bomb load of an aircraft: a payload of 50 megatons.

Origin of payload

First recorded in 1925–30; pay1 + load

Words Nearby payload Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use payload in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for payload


/ (ˈpeɪˌləʊd) /

  1. that part of a cargo earning revenue

    • the passengers, cargo, or bombs carried by an aircraft

    • the equipment carried by a rocket, satellite, or spacecraft

  1. the explosive power of a warhead, bomb, etc, carried by a missile or aircraft: a missile carrying a 50-megaton payload

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