See more synonyms for unload on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object)
  1. to take the load from; remove the cargo or freight from: to unload a truck; to unload a cart.
  2. to remove or discharge (a load, group of people, etc.): to unload passengers.
  3. to remove the charge from (a firearm).
  4. to relieve of anything burdensome, oppressive, etc.: He unloaded his responsibilities.
  5. to get rid of (goods, shares of stock, etc.) by sale in large quantities.
verb (used without object)
  1. to unload something.
  2. Informal. to relieve one's stress by talking, confessing, or the like.

Origin of unload

First recorded in 1515–25; un-2 + load
Related formsun·load·er, nounself-un·load·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for unload


  1. to remove a load or cargo from (a ship, lorry, etc)
  2. to discharge (cargo, freight, etc)
  3. (tr) to relieve of a burden or troubles
  4. (tr) to give vent to (anxiety, troubles, etc)
  5. (tr) to get rid of or dispose of (esp surplus goods)
  6. (tr) to remove the charge of ammunition from (a firearm)
Derived Formsunloader, 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

Word Origin and History for unload

1520s, in reference to cargo, from un- (2) + load (v.). Figurative sense (in reference to feelings, etc.) is recorded from 1590s. Related: Unloaded; unloading.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper