Definition of discharge in English:

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Pronunciation: /dɪsˈtʃɑːdʒ/
[with object]
1Tell (someone) officially that they can or must leave, in particular:
Example sentences
  • They stressed that staff would not be actively discharging anyone and no programme was in place to reduce the number of users by a set target.
  • Most of these discharged students are in fact believed to have been forced out, which would make the true drop-out rate 25 to 30 percent.
  • They discharged their legal team over a year ago after spiralling costs threatened to ruin their business.
1.1Allow (a patient) to leave hospital because they are judged fit: Mark was taken away in an ambulance but later discharged
More example sentences
  • The patient was discharged to his local hospital with plans for treatment with chemotherapy.
  • The patients were discharged from the hospital within 48 hours of surgery.
  • We made baseline assessments in the 24 hours before patients were discharged from hospital and assigned to the intervention.
1.2Dismiss from the armed forces or police: his memory was impaired and he was discharged from the RAF
More example sentences
  • A group of former members of the armed forces who were discharged from the military for being gay have filed suit asking to be reinstated.
  • On 19th October 1994 he was discharged from the police on the grounds of permanent ill health.
  • The four applicants, three men and one woman, had been administratively discharged from the armed forces under this policy.
dismiss, remove, eject, expel, deprive of office, get rid of, throw out, oust;
let go, give someone notice, lay off, make/declare redundant;
Military  cashier
informal sack, give someone the sack, fire, axe, send packing, give someone the boot, boot out, turf out, give someone their cards, give someone their marching orders, give someone the heave-ho, give someone the push, give someone the bullet, show someone the door
1.3Release from the custody or restraint of the law: she was conditionally discharged for two years at Oxford Crown Court
More example sentences
  • This is because they have been discharged from detention under the Act, not because they have been placed under supervision.
  • I reject the submission that this duty only comes into existence when the applicant is discharged from Broadmoor.
  • We remain instructed in relation to his application to be discharged from prison but emphasise that apart from the request contained herein we have had no role in his appeal against sentence.
release, liberate, free, set free, let go, let out, allow to leave, set/let/turn loose;
acquit, clear, absolve, pardon, exonerate, reprieve, exculpate;
deliver, spare, exempt;
informal let off (the hook)
historical manumit
1.4Relieve (a juror or jury) from serving in a case: if the jury cannot agree, it should be discharged
More example sentences
  • We have no hesitation in finding that the judge was not only entitled under common law to refuse to discharge these jurors, but would have been wrong had he done so.
  • In any event, even if that discretion could be attacked it was in no way the fault of the prosecution that the jury was discharged on that occasion.
  • But I would add to the fact that his Honour does appear to have applied the correct test concerning the need to discharge the jury.
2Allow (a liquid, gas, or other substance) to flow out from where it has been confined: industrial plants discharge highly toxic materials into rivers [no object]: the overflow should discharge in an obvious place
More example sentences
  • In the Baltic Sea, similar dumps have started to discharge mustard gas, forming a jelly on contact with water.
  • It would tackle the amount of raw sewage being discharged into local water courses and remove the need for householders to have septic tanks maintained and emptied.
  • The station was allowed to discharge sewage into the river during an emergency and was supposed to have alarms fitted to act as a warning when there had been a pump failure, but none of them worked.
send out, pour, release, eject, emit, let out, void, issue, dispense, give off, exude, excrete, ooze, leak, gush, jet;
Medicine  extravasate
literary disembogue
2.1(Of an orifice or diseased tissue) emit (pus or other liquid): the swelling will eventually break down and discharge pus [no object]: the eyes and nose began to discharge
More example sentences
  • A 23 year old woman was referred by her general practitioner with multiple, unsightly lesions on her right pinna, which occasionally discharged pus.
  • He said that his ears were swollen and bleeding and discharging pus.
  • Maybe you should also disqualify those golfers who discharge phlegm from their mouths while playing.
2.2 Physics Release or neutralize the electric charge of (an electric field, battery, or other object): the electrostatic field that builds up on a monitor screen can be discharged [no object]: batteries have a tendency to discharge slowly
More example sentences
  • It is recommended that you fully charge and discharge the new battery two to four times to allow it to reach its maximum rated capacity.
  • If the concentration of such a species is high enough that it does not change much as the battery is discharged, then the voltage output remains nearly constant.
  • If it is a battery that is shorted, the battery will be discharged very quickly and will heat up due to the high current flow.
2.3(Of a person) fire (a gun or missile): when you shoot you can discharge as many barrels as you wish
More example sentences
  • He had thought he was a sufficient distance away from the neighbour's boundary when he had discharged the firearm.
  • The facts were that the lady discharged her firearm against two youngsters who were totally innocent of any misdemeanour.
  • He has said he declined to report the incident at the time because he had illegally discharged a firearm in a national park.
fire, shoot, let off, set off, loose off, trigger, explode, detonate
2.4 [no object] (Of a firearm) be fired: there was a dull thud as the gun discharged
More example sentences
  • When he attempted to fire again, his 9mm pistol would not discharge; looking down, he saw it was jammed.
  • His gun discharged and the beam shot towards me.
  • After the shotgun had discharged he placed it in a rubbish bin and crawled back to his home address.
2.5Unload (goods or passengers) from a ship: the ferry was discharging passengers [no object]: ninety ships were queuing to discharge
More example sentences
  • It depicts a sloop leaving a dock after having discharged a group of passengers.
  • At the port, a cargo ship docked and discharged heavy trucks of the kind used to carry tanks or other heavy armour.
  • Since we were not going to hit the Floral Park station where we could stop at a platform, we would now need to return to Jamaica to discharge the passengers.
unload, offload, empty, unburden, disburden, remove, relieve;
deliver, deposit, put off
rare unlade
2.6Allow (an emotion) to be expressed: he discharged his resentment in the harmless form of memoirs
More example sentences
  • How could anyone who cannot discharge negative emotions over a long time not be depressed?
  • He needed to discharge the emotion of the situation: to turn the focus of attention away from himself before he lost his composure entirely and sat down and wept.
  • It can also be caused by unemployment as lack of jobs discharges frustration and in certain cases, depression.
3Do all that is required to perform (a duty) or fulfil (a responsibility): the bank had failed to discharge its supervisory duties
More example sentences
  • That was the only time that he was actually unable to perform or discharge the duties of the president.
  • He said he was required to discharge his duty free from interference from any other authority.
  • For success, all these people are required to discharge their duties.
carry out, perform, conduct, do;
complete, accomplish, achieve, fulfil, execute, implement, dispatch, bring off, bring about, effect;
observe, abide by, stand by
rare effectuate
3.1Pay off (a debt): the executor must discharge the funeral expenses
More example sentences
  • The payment of a debt to one of a number of joint creditors discharges a debt owed to them jointly.
  • He died of gangrene before he could pay, but his son dutifully discharged the debt.
  • However, I only discharge the debts I lawfully incur.
pay, pay off, pay in full, settle (up), clear, honour, meet, liquidate, satisfy, defray, make good
informal square
3.2Release (a party) from a contract or obligation: the insurer is discharged from liability from the day of breach
More example sentences
  • If you have already studied the law of contract, you may remember that there are a number of ways in which contracts may be discharged so that parties no longer have any obligations under them.
  • Generally the parties are discharged from the performance of any future obligations.
  • In the end, that was what this arrangement depended upon, that the putative trustee should acquire the property beneficially and be discharged of its obligations.
3.3 Law Relieve (a bankrupt) of residual liability: first-time bankrupts are discharged automatically after three years
More example sentences
  • In part it can probably be attributed to the fact that the Enterprise Act has resulted in most bankrupts being automatically discharged after just one year.
  • Currently every first-time bankrupt is discharged automatically either two or three years after the date of the bankruptcy order depending on how much was originally owed.
  • From now on, most bankrupts will be automatically discharged after just one year instead of two to three years and, in some cases, discharge could come even earlier.
4 Law (Of a judge or court) cancel (an order of a court): the court may discharge a care order on the application of the child
More example sentences
  • It may well be that in the light of that report the authority will wish to apply to the High Court to discharge the consent order made last year.
  • However, in an appropriate case the Court may and should discharge the order on its own initiative.
  • Secondly, at least in Family Law Act and similar cases, a later court may vary or discharge the order to which the suspended committal is linked, thus setting a limit to the suspension.
4.1Cancel (a contract) because of completion or breach: an existing mortgage to be discharged on completion
More example sentences
  • The respondent's case was that the effect of that void variation was to discharge the contract of sale.
  • This method of discharging a contract involves a breach by one party of an obligation under the contract which is so fundamental that its breach is tantamount to his repudiating or rejecting the contract as a whole.
  • In its broad sense, the term further encompasses the settlement of the obligations, that is, the completion of payment discharging them.


Pronunciation: /ˈdɪstʃɑːdʒ/
Pronunciation: /dɪsˈtʃɑːdʒ/
[mass noun]
1The action of discharging someone from a hospital or from the armed forces or police: referrals can be discussed before discharge from hospital [count noun]: offending policemen receive a dishonourable discharge
More example sentences
  • Data from community follow-ups were also collected and analyzed for a 24-month period following the subject's discharge from hospital.
  • But they say that having MRSA will not delay anybody's discharge from the hospital and that there are no special precautions to follow once the patient is home.
  • Also, those seriously injured will be brought to this camp on their discharge from the hospital.
dismissal, release, removal, ejection, ousting, expulsion, congé;
Military  cashiering
informal the sack, firing, axing, the axe, the boot, one's marching orders, the heave-ho, the push, the bullet
1.1 [count noun] An act of releasing someone from the custody or restraint of the law: she was given an absolute discharge after admitting breaking a smoking ban
More example sentences
  • It is clear that the trial judge focussed on the issue before me, and was aware of the Crown's position with respect to the granting of an absolute discharge.
  • Nor does it make for efficiency as the courts would be cluttered with prosecutions of blameless individuals who would ultimately be dealt with by means of an absolute discharge.
  • He concluded that in this case, given what occurred and who the appellant was, a discharge was not a sufficiently severe sentence and a fine was more appropriate.
release, liberation;
acquittal, clearance, clearing;
absolution, pardon, exoneration, reprieve, amnesty, exculpation
informal let-off, letting off
historical manumission
2The action of discharging a liquid, gas, or other substance: those germs might lead to vaginal discharge
More example sentences
  • This article focuses on the causes and diagnosis of vaginal discharge and treatment of the most common infective causes.
  • If high fever, excess bleeding or excess vaginal discharge occur, then medical advice should be sought.
  • The ‘greens’ say the monitoring facility will be of immense help, as effluent discharge from factories at night cannot be detected.
leak, leaking, emission, release, exuding, oozing, excretion, ejection;
emptying, voiding, voidance
literary disemboguing
2.1A substance that has been discharged: industrial discharge has turned the river into an open sewer [count noun]: a greeny-yellow nasal discharge
More example sentences
  • There used to be raw sewage and all kinds of industrial discharge, so the problem has improved.
  • The start of the breeding oestrous cycle is marked by a blood stained discharge, which lasts from four to thirteen days and may first be noticed as blood stained spotting on the animal's bed.
  • The discharge from the animal enclosures, however, pushes the E. coli count even higher, to as much as 75 000.
emission, secretion, excretion, exudate, effusion;
flow, ooze, seepage, suppuration;
pus, matter
2.2 Physics The release of electricity from a charged object: slow discharge of a condenser is fundamental to oscillatory circuits
More example sentences
  • In addition, full registration of the cartridge reduces track offsets and electrostatic discharge from the cartridge base plate.
  • An electrostatic discharge protection device can protect a head gimbal assembly circuit from electrostatic discharge.
  • Thus the amount of discharge from the pixel electrode is reduced by the capacitor.
2.3 [count noun] A flow of electricity through air or other gas, especially when accompanied by emission of light: a sizzling discharge between sky and turret
More example sentences
  • During discharge, electrons flow from the negative electrode to the positive via this ‘external load’, thereby doing electrical work.
  • Lightning discharges also generate electromagnetic energy heard on radio receivers as spherics (crackles with very low frequencies), which may be used to locate distant thunderstorms.
  • This discharge could also be accompanied by light and sound, explaining why witnesses report seeing flashing lights and hearing humming noises.
2.4The action of firing a gun or missile: a police permit for discharge of an air gun [count noun]: sounds like discharges of artillery
More example sentences
  • These pistols do not have magazine safeties, but they all incorporate internal firing pin blocks to prevent discharge if the pistol is dropped or suffers a similarly sharp blow.
  • Sub-sonic ammunition is necessary for silenced or suppressed firearms to keep the sound of discharge really quiet.
  • One also prohibited the discharge of projectiles and explosives from balloons.
shot, shooting, firing, discharging, explosion, detonation;
blast, crack, bang, pop, report;
burst, volley, salvo, fusillade, barrage;
(discharges) gunfire
2.5The action of unloading a ship: freight for discharge
unloading, offloading, unburdening, disburdening, removal, removing, relieving;
delivering, deposit
rare unlading
3The action of doing all that is required to fulfil a responsibility or perform a duty: directors must use skill in the discharge of their duties
More example sentences
  • The Appointment I hold, he said, ‘is in itself sufficient guarantee for the proper discharge of any duties I may have to perform’.
  • His Honour then goes on to make plain that the discharge of that duty required the Council to undertake a sanitary survey and then consequential action upon that.
  • The discharge of the above responsibilities is no less important than fulfilling our religious duties, and indeed is part of them.
carrying out, performance, performing, conduct, doing;
completion, accomplishment, achievement, fulfilment, execution, implementation, dispatch, effectuation;
3.1The payment of a debt: money paid in discharge of a claim
More example sentences
  • Creditors can also contact their county sheriff who can seize and sell on goods belonging to the debtor in discharge of a debt.
  • The complaint is maintainable in respect of cheque which is issued in discharge of legally enforceable debt or liability.
  • In breach of this agreement, a director of the company arranged for the collection of cheques, sent to the company in discharge of book debts due to it, for the credit of the company's current account.
payment, repayment, paying (off), settlement, settling (up), clearance, clearing, honouring, meeting, liquidation, defraying, making good
informal squaring
3.2 Law The relief of a bankrupt from residual liability: machinery to rehabilitate the bankrupt through the process of discharge
More example sentences
  • He submits that assets which become the property of the Trustee do not revert to the Bankrupt upon the Bankrupt's discharge.
  • All that it bears upon is the prospect of, and the time at which, discharge of the liability would occur.
  • He further argues that if he is found personally liable, the liability was released by his discharge from bankruptcy.
4 Law The cancellation of an order of a court: an application for discharge of a supervision order
More example sentences
  • A motion to consolidate that action with the applications for discharge now before this court was dismissed and the action is proceeding toward trial.
  • In a suitable case an application for discharge of the care order is available.
  • If I make no order, if I make an order, the parties can always come back and either seek further order or seek discharge of the order.



Pronunciation: /dɪsˈtʃɑːdʒəb(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • I know, I know - student loans aren't dischargeable in bankruptcy.
  • For one thing, those loans aren't dischargeable in bankruptcy, meaning you'll have to pay them eventually - if nothing else, they'll garnish your social security benefits.
  • By contrast, some unsecured debts are not dischargeable in bankruptcy, and secured debts, such as home and auto loans are minimally affected.


Middle English (in the sense 'relieve of an obligation'): from Old French descharger, from late Latin discarricare 'unload', from dis- (expressing reversal) + carricare 'to load' (see charge).

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: dis|charge

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