Definition of load in English:

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Pronunciation: /ləʊd/


1A heavy or bulky thing that is being carried or is about to be carried: in addition to their own food, they must carry a load of up to eighty pounds
More example sentences
  • If you require an estate car for carrying bulky loads, rather than heavy ones, the 1.4-litre petrol version is probably the one for you.
  • Longshoreman and other workers who must carry heavy loads, or who have their back bent for a long time can easily overstrain their backs.
  • They are usually used to haul heavy loads or carry cargoes.
cargo, freight, freightage, charge, burden;
pack, bundle, parcel, bale;
consignment, haul, delivery, shipment, batch;
goods, merchandise, payload;
lorryload, truckload, shipload, boatload, containerload, busload, vanload
archaic lading
1.1 [in combination] The total number or amount that can be carried in something, typically a vehicle or container: a lorry-load of soldiers
More example sentences
  • Note: the list has been restricted to a half container load to minimise costs.
  • Some have a couple of shipping container loads dragging at their heels.
  • Since she exports artefacts by the container load, she often negotiate contracts with local artists, a year or more in advance.
1.2A quantity of items washed or to be washed in a washing machine or dishwasher at one time: I do at least six loads of washing a week
More example sentences
  • Wash only full loads in the dishwasher, or handwash dishes with a basin of soapy water and a basin of clear rinse water.
  • Never mind that it takes me two hours to hang out four loads of washing, not including folding and ironing time and I usually do about 12 to 16 loads per week.
  • Wash and dry full laundry loads and use your dishwasher's air dry cycle.
1.3The material carried along by a stream, glacier, ocean current, etc. the streams deposited their loads, leaving thin sheets of gravel or sand
More example sentences
  • Both types of channels periodically deposit their sediment load as lobes onto the axial channel belt where it is reworked.
  • The position of the orogenic load during the Late Carboniferous is poorly constrained.
  • Grass buffer zones or vegetative filter strips have been investigated as a means of reducing nutrient loads in streams.
2A weight or source of pressure borne by someone or something: the increased load on the heart caused by a raised arterial pressure the arch has hollow spandrels to lighten the load on the foundations
More example sentences
  • Joints move and bear a load: your weight, in other words.
  • Then they pressurise the load on top of the pillar.
  • It is possible he will be asked to drop some of the weight to ease the load on his left knee, in which he tore the ACL in 1998.
2.1The amount of work to be done by a person or machine: Arthur has a light teaching load
More example sentences
  • For many professional hosting services, sub domains are hosted on different machines to reduce the load on individual servers.
  • To control the load on each machine, a script is run which increases the nice level of each process the longer it executes.
  • It will create a light load on the CPU while serving the most requests possible.
2.2A burden of responsibility, worry, or grief.
Example sentences
  • The debt was a heavy load on the part of the Government whose leaders were spending sleepless nights thinking about ways and means of overcoming the problem.
  • In other words, we should all individually carry what is our everyday load or responsibility, but where it becomes too heavy for us, we all join in and share the burden.
  • It concludes that since military service is a burden, moral considerations require that the load be shared as equally as possible.
commitment, responsibility, duty, obligation, onus, charge, weight;
burden, encumbrance, cross, millstone, albatross;
trouble, worry, strain, pressure
3 (a load of) informal A lot of: she was talking a load of rubbish
More example sentences
  • I do not support any of these commissions - I think they are a whole load of rubbish.
3.1 (a load/loads) Plenty: she spends loads of money on clothes there’s loads to see here, even when it rains
More example sentences
  • There's loads to go through, it just takes so long to do!
  • And no there wasn't just one ticket counter there were loads.
  • Having these premises is really important for them because they'll be able to provide loads more services and be more of a resource for people.
a lot, a great deal, a great/large amount, a large quantity, a number, an abundance, a wealth, a profusion, a mountain;
many, plenty, reams;
informal a heap, a mass, a pile, an ocean, a stack, a ton, lots, heaps, masses, piles, oceans, stacks, tons, oodles, scads
British informal a shedload, lashings
Australian/New Zealand informal a swag
vulgar slang a shitload
North American vulgar slang an assload
4The amount of power supplied by a source; the resistance of moving parts to be overcome by a motor: if the wire in the fuse is too thin to accept the load it will melt
More example sentences
  • We employ a special platform to test loads on power supplies.
  • In fact, the system should be designed to permit individual modules to be taken off line for maintenance without removing the load from conditioned power.
  • Equipment was tested at maximum loads to check peak power loads and cooling capabilities.
4.1The amount of electricity supplied by a generating system at any given time.
Example sentences
  • To estimate your electrical load, total the wattage of all the equipment you'll operate at one time.
  • In general you share a transformer with several neighbors; and since you share a circuit with them, their loads will affect your electrical supply.
  • Two fully independent AC and DC electrical systems are each capable of supplying all essential loads in case of failure the other system.
4.2 Electronics An impedance or circuit that receives or develops the output of a transistor or other device.
Example sentences
  • Depending on the load, the voltage output will vary.
  • Since your main supply wires have some resistance, you will still get some flicker even when these loads are on different circuits.
  • When the current value detected by the current detector exceeds a predetermined value, power supply to the load is stopped using a breaker.


[with object]
1Fill (a vehicle, ship, container, etc.) with a large amount of something: they go to Calais to load up their vans with cheap beer
More example sentences
  • They ensure the right vehicles are loaded in the right order so that the ship back in Europe is downloaded as quickly and efficiently as possible.
  • Yes, I packed and loaded vehicles, ripped apart furniture, and drove from one end of town to the other and beyond.
  • Response Time is defined as the time taken from the decision to begin treatment until the winter maintenance vehicles are loaded, manned and ready to leave the compound.
fill, fill up, pack, stuff, cram, pile, heap, stack;
lade, freight, charge;
1.1 [with object and adverbial] Place (a load or large quantity of something) on or in a vehicle, ship, container, etc. stolen property from a burglary was loaded into a taxi
More example sentences
  • They also provided maintenance support at the port of Antwerp, to help repair deadlined vehicles on the spot so they could be loaded into the ships on schedule.
  • The warm beer, the necessities and souvenirs laid out in the shopping area - everything had been loaded into vehicles or onto camels and brought out for the festival.
  • We now have container security initiatives and all kinds of gizmos and ways to check what's loaded into the containers.
pack, stow, store, stack, bundle, stuff, cram, squeeze, jam, wedge;
place, deposit, put away
1.2 [no object] (Of a ship or vehicle) take on a load: when we came to the quay the ship was still loading
More example sentences
  • After an internal investigation, McDonald said the company has tightened up regulations to ensure no crew members are shifting places while the vessel is loading or unloading.
  • In relation to the access from Castle Street which is two way, Mr Hearn said this led to conflict between vehicles at the Castle Street access and is often made worse by vehicles loading and unloading.
  • She sighed and slumped once more into the plastic orange chair; it was only ten minutes before the Greyhound bus started loading.
1.3 [no object] (load up on) informal Take, buy, or consume a large amount of: I just went down to the store and loaded up on beer
2Make (someone or something) carry or hold a large or excessive quantity of heavy things: Elaine was loaded down with bags full of shopping
More example sentences
  • And they were loaded down with so many people that they couldn't take them all.
  • They were loaded down with all kinds of freebies, including CDs and cardboard cut-outs of ‘Software Legends’.
  • The third year teachers are loaded down with thank you flowers and gifts from the students and write in the students year books.
2.1 (load someone/thing with) Supply someone or something with (something) in overwhelming abundance or to excess: the King and Queen loaded Columbus with wealth and honours
More example sentences
  • My query was sincere, my comment was loaded with independently confirmable facts and you come back to me with… nothing.
  • He loads the film with pitch black comedy, giving it a rich texture that most filmmakers wouldn't be able to conjure up.
  • Politicians, pundits, and the hordes of bloggers have been polishing the brass on their discourse, loading their sentences with hot words that though they may glow with the flame of rhetoric, they are depleted of common sense…
reward, ply, regale, shower;
supply, provide
2.2Bias towards a particular outcome: the odds were loaded against them before the match
More example sentences
  • The way we are taught Shakespeare is too often loaded towards the idea that his plays are about supposedly unchanging things, like love or ambition or treachery.
  • ‘The system is heavily loaded in favour of the Americans,’ he insists.
  • The appraisal process is loaded in favour of the methodological commitments of the appraiser.
bias, rig, fix, set up;
3Charge (a firearm) with ammunition: he began to load the gun
More example sentences
  • In court, it was said he loaded the Derringer ‘out of curiosity’ and intended to use it on a shooting range, but never got round to it.
  • The breech permits loading the howitzer from the rear.
  • He began to load his gun, and handed out ammunition to the others.
prime, charge, arm, fill, prepare to fire/use
3.1Insert something into (a device) so that it can be operated: load your camera before you start following breakfast we clear the table and load the dishwasher
More example sentences
  • This allowed the police forces to become complacent - for example, how do motorists know which cameras are loaded and which are not?
  • When you load a camera in a warm humid atmosphere, then take it diving in cold water, there is a good chance that fog will form inside the lens or housing.
  • Keep your film and your batteries in a fridge if possible when you get to your destination, but allow your film to warm a bit before loading your camera.
3.2Insert (something) into a device so that it will operate: load the cassette into the camcorder
More example sentences
  • This does require a little more expertise than just being able to load film into the camera.
  • Perhaps this is, in part, a lesson learned from forgetting to load film into my camera as a junior.
  • And who wants to fiddle with a camera that is so small that loading the film requires a lot of patience and pretty small fingers?
insert, put, place, fit, slide, slot
3.3 Computing Transfer (a program or data) into memory, or into the central processor from storage: when the program is loaded into the microcomputer, the CPU carries out each instruction
More example sentences
  • Once your program is loaded into memory, the CPU is really the limiting factor.
  • This takes a different approach to most of the other software, loading different programs to cope with different sections of the editing process, from capture through to creating a final product.
  • These represent programs that are loaded into memory.
4Add an extra charge to (an insurance premium) to take account of a factor that increases the risk.
Example sentences
  • If capital markets were efficient, the default risk premium would be loaded exclusively on to the debt of the over-borrower; there would be no free riding.
  • The money is generated by loading the insurance premiums paid by credit unions to ECCU and passing the resulting income on to the ILCU.
  • Can life insurers load their premium if their policyholders work or live in trophy buildings and constructions that are potential terrorist targets?



get a load of

informal Used to draw attention to someone or something: get a load of that blonde girl!
More example sentences
  • The barkeep, cleaning a shot glass with a dirty rag, turns and shakes his head, ‘Would you get a load of that?’
  • Wait till they get a load of their long-awaited Vatican III and blow a gasket.
  • ‘I'm sorry, I just can't get over the size of those udders,’ I told him, ribbing Jon the entire time to get a load of those udders.

get (or have) a load on

US informal Become drunk: he got a load on and decided he was going to break every window in the street
More example sentences
  • We drunkards, we sozzleheads, we gindogs, need to get a load on where we can trust the bartender to help us along, not look out for our safety.

load the bases

Baseball Have base runners on all three bases.
Example sentences
  • They closed the gap to 7-5 by the eighth inning, then loaded the bases in both the eighth and ninth, before finally losing 7-6.
  • The Red Sox loaded the bases in the ninth inning with nobody out, but they didn't score.
  • Wisely selling the play, he hustled to first base and was safe, loading the bases.

load the dice against/in favour of someone

Put someone at a disadvantage or advantage.
Example sentences
  • Indeed it suggests that Waugh was loading the dice in favor of Tony, manipulating his reader's emotions in a manner worthy of Wilde's Dickens.

take a (or the) load off one's feet

Sit or lie down.
Example sentences
  • Doing so will take a load off your feet, and prevent your brain from becoming clogged, cluttered or crashing like your hapless personal computer.
  • Jo pointed towards the screen door, ‘Come into the sun room. You can sit in my comfortable rockers and take a load off your feet.’

take a load off someone's mind

Bring someone relief from anxiety: providing the income you will need after you stop work can take a load off your mind
More example sentences
  • Knowing that all of my reminders are safe and can be checked easily from one place definitely takes a load off my mind.
  • In the meantime, pop in your favorite movie and take a load off your mind, because you deserve it.
  • It would certainly take a load off the actor's mind that he/she may have lost Oscar because he wasn't funny enough or couldn't reach that high C, or been able to emote enough to bring out the tears.

under load

Subject to a mechanical or electrical load: when the drill is under load, the speed will drop
More example sentences
  • This is because the capacitor is breaking down when under load.
  • However a quiet power supply or a cool power supply means nothing if the power supply doesn't keep voltages stable under load.
  • A common measure of PSU quality is how much variance is observed on the various voltage rails under load.


Old English lād 'way, journey, conveyance', of Germanic origin: related to German Leite, also to lead1; compare with lode. The verb dates from the late 15th century.

  • The ancient root of load is related to that of the metal lead. The word lode meaning ‘a vein of ore’ and found also in lodestone (early 16th century) was originally just a different spelling of load. In earlier use load and lode were used interchangeably for both sets of meanings. The expression loads of ‘lots, heaps’ goes back as far as Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida, where the original spelling was ‘loades a’. In the 20th century loadsa started appearing in print as one word, and in the late 1980s the comedian Harry Enfield created the character Loadsamoney, a flash Tory who boasted about the money he had made and threw wads of cash around. Loadsamoney was seen as epitomizing the ‘get-rich-quick’ ethos of the Thatcher years.

Words that rhyme with load

abode, bestrode, bode, code, commode, corrode, download, encode, erode, explode, forebode, goad, implode, lode, middle-of-the-road, mode, node, ode, offload, outrode, road, rode, sarod, Spode, strode, toad, upload, woad

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: load

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