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From Middle English lode, loade, from Old English lād(course, journey; way, street, waterway; leading, carrying; maintenance, support), from Proto-Germanic *laidō(leading, way), from Proto-Indo-European *leyt-(to go, go forth, die), from *ley-(to be slimy, be sticky, slide, glide, stroke). Doublet of lode, which preserved the older meaning. Cognate with Middle Low German leide(entourage, escort), German Leite(line, course, load), Swedish led(way, trail, line), Icelandic leið(way, course, route). The sense of ‘burden’ developed in the 13th century.

The verb load ‘to charge with a load’ is derived from the noun, in the 16th century, and was influenced by the etymologically unrelated lade, which it largely supplanted.



load (plural loads)

  1. A burden; a weight to be carried.
    I struggled up the hill with the heavy load in my rucksack.
  2. (figuratively) A worry or concern to be endured, especially in the phrase a load off one's mind.
    • Dryden
      Our life's a load.
    • 2005, Coldplay, Green Eyes
      I came here with a load and it feels so much lighter, now I’ve met you.
  3. A certain number of articles or quantity of material that can be transported or processed at one time.
    The truck overturned while carrying a full load of oil.
    She put another load of clothes in the washing machine.
  4. (in combination) Used to form nouns that indicate a large quantity, often corresponding to the capacity of a vehicle
  5. (often in the plural, colloquial) A large number or amount.
    I got loads of presents for my birthday!
    I got a load of emails about that.
  6. The volume of work required to be performed.
    Will our web servers be able to cope with that load?
  7. (engineering) The force exerted on a structural component such as a beam, girder, cable etc.
    Each of the cross-members must withstand a tensile load of 1,000 newtons.
  8. (electrical engineering) The electrical current or power delivered by a device.
    I'm worried that the load on that transformer will be too high.
  9. (engineering) A resistive force encountered by a prime mover when performing work.
  10. (electrical engineering) Any component that draws current or power from an electrical circuit.
    Connect a second 24 ohm load across the power supply's output terminals.
  11. A unit of measure for various quantities.
    • 1866, James Edwin Thorold Rogers, A History of Agriculture and Prices in England, Volume 1, p. 172:
      If this load equals its modern representative, it contains 18 cwt. of dry, 19 of new hay.
    • The viral load
  12. A very small explosive inserted as a gag into a cigarette or cigar.
  13. The charge of powder for a firearm.
  14. (obsolete) Weight or violence of blows.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Milton to this entry?)
  15. (vulgar, slang) The contents (e.g. semen) of an ejaculation.
    • 2006, John Patrick, Barely Legal, page 102
      Already, Robbie had dumped a load into his dad, and now, before my very eyes, was Alan's own cock lube seeping out
    • 2009, John Butler Wanderlust, page 35
      It felt so good, I wanted to just keep going until I blew a load down his throat, but I hadn't even seen his ass yet, and I sure didn't want to come yet.
  16. (euphemistic) Nonsense; rubbish.
    What a load!
  17. (computing) The process of loading something, i.e. transferring it into memory or over a network, etc.
    All of those uncompressed images are going to slow down the page load.



  • (1/12 cartload of wool & for smaller divisions): wey
  • (1/30 cartload of lead & for smaller divisions): fotmal
  • (1/36 cartload of straw or hay & for smaller divisions): truss

Derived termsEdit



load (third-person singular simple present loads, present participle loading, simple past loaded, past participle loaded or (archaic) loaden)

  1. (transitive) To put a load on or in (a means of conveyance or a place of storage).
    The dock workers refused to load the ship.
  2. (transitive) To place in or on a conveyance or a place of storage.
    The longshoremen loaded the cargo quickly.
    He loaded his stuff into his storage locker.
  3. (intransitive) To put a load on something.
    The truck was supposed to leave at dawn, but in fact we spent all morning loading.
  4. (intransitive) To receive a load.
    The truck is designed to load easily.
  5. (intransitive) To be placed into storage or conveyance.
    The containers load quickly and easily.
  6. (transitive) To fill (a firearm or artillery) with munition.
    I pulled the trigger, but nothing happened. I had forgotten to load the gun.
  7. (transitive) To insert (an item or items) into an apparatus so as to ready it for operation, such as a reel of film into a camera, sheets of paper into a printer etc.
    Now that you've loaded the film you're ready to start shooting.
  8. (transitive) To fill (an apparatus) with raw material.
    The workers loaded the blast furnace with coke and ore.
  9. (intransitive) To be put into use in an apparatus.
    The cartridge was designed to load easily.
  10. (transitive, computing) To read (data or a program) from a storage medium into computer memory.
    Click OK to load the selected data.
  11. (intransitive, computing) To transfer from a storage medium into computer memory.
    This program takes an age to load.
  12. (transitive, baseball) To put runners on first, second and third bases
    He walks to load the bases.
  13. (transitive) To tamper with so as to produce a biased outcome.
    You can load the dice in your favour by researching the company before your interview.
    The wording of the ballot paper loaded the vote in favour of the Conservative candidate.
  14. (transitive) To ask or adapt a question so that it will be more likely to be answered in a certain way.
  15. (transitive) To encumber with something negative, to place as an encumbrance.
    The new owners had loaded the company with debt.
    The new owners loaded debt on the company.
  16. (transitive) To provide in abundance.
    He loaded his system with carbs before the marathon.
    He loaded carbs into his system before the marathon.
  17. (transitive, archaic, slang) To adulterate or drug.
    to load wine
  18. (transitive, archaic) To magnetize.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Prior to this entry?)

Derived termsEdit


Derived termsEdit




  1. (Spain) Informal second-person plural (vosotros or vosotras) affirmative imperative form of loar.