Online Encyclopedia

CHARGE (through the Fr. from the Late...

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V05, Page 859 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CHARGE (through the Fr. from the Late Lat. carricare, to load in a carrus or wagon; cf. " cargo "), a load; from this, its primary meaning, also seen in the word " charger," a large dish, come the uses of the word for the powder and shot to load a fire-arm, the accumulation of electricity in a battery, the necessary quantity of dynamite or other explosive in blasting, and a device borne on an escutcheon in heraldry. " Charge " can thus mean a burden, and so a care or duty laid upon one, as in " to be in charge " of another. With a transference to that which lays such a duty on another, " charge " is used of the instructions given by a judge to a jury, or by a bishop to the clergy of his diocese. In the special sense of a pecuniary burden the word is used of the price of goods, of an encumbrance on property, and of the expenses of running a business. Further uses of the word are of the violent, rushing attack of cavalry, or of a bull or elephant, or football player; hence " charger " is a horse ridden in a charge, or more loosely a horse ridden by an officer, whether of infantry or cavalry.
End of Article: CHARGE (through the Fr. from the Late Lat. carricare, to load in a carrus or wagon; cf. " cargo ")
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