public charge

  1. a person who is in economic distress and is supported at government expense: He assured the American consul that the prospective immigrant would not become a public charge.

Origin of public charge

First recorded in 1880–85

Words Nearby public charge Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use public charge in a sentence

  • They also required bonds and head taxes be paid for “at risk” migrants — those deemed likely to cost the state money, or what was termed “likely to become a public charge,” a term that still exists in different forms in contemporary immigration law.

    The myth of ‘open borders’ | Anna Law | September 21, 2021 | Washington Post
  • The conviction of a criminal is a public duty; and, under all governments of law, it is undertaken at the public charge.

  • He seems to claim the exclusive merit of a disposition to reduce the public charge.

  • The author seldom cares very deeply for his offspring once it is turned over to the public charge.

  • His congregation viewed him with suspicion and distrust privately; but as yet, no public charge had been made against him.

    City Crimes | Greenhorn
  • "She's likely to become a public charge," the man said, anxious to defend himself and his government before the lovely girl.

    The Old Flute-Player | Edward Marshall and Charles T. Dazey