Also called cartouche. a cylindrical case of pasteboard, metal, or the like, for holding a complete charge of powder, and often also the bullet or the shot for a rifle, machine gun, or other small arm.
a case containing any explosive charge, as for blasting.
any small container for powder, liquid, or gas, made for ready insertion into some device or mechanism: an ink cartridge for a pen.
Also called magazine. Photography. a lightproof metal or plastic container for a roll of film, usually containing both the supply and take-up spools, as well as a pressure plate, for rapid loading without the necessity of threading the film.
Audio. pickup ( def 8 ).
a flat, compact container enclosing an endless loop of audiotape, operated by inserting into a slot in a player.

1570–80; earlier cartage, cartrage, alteration of cartouche Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
cartridge (ˈkɑːtrɪdʒ)
1.  a cylindrical, usually metal casing containing an explosive charge and often a bullet, for a rifle or other small arms
2.  a case for an explosive, such as a blasting charge
3.  an electromechanical transducer in the pick-up of a record player, usually either containing a piezoelectric crystal (crystal cartridge) or an electromagnet (magnetic cartridge)
4.  a container for magnetic tape that is inserted into a tape deck in audio or video systems. It is about four times the size of a cassette
5.  photog cassette, Also called: magazine a light-tight film container that enables a camera to be loaded and unloaded in normal light
6.  computing a removable unit in a printer which contains black or coloured ink
7.  computing a removable unit in a computer, such as an integrated circuit, containing software
[C16: from earlier cartage, variant of cartouche (cartridge)]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1579, corruption of Fr. cartouche "a full charge for a pistol," from It. cartoccio "roll of paper," an augmentive form of M.L. carta "paper" (see card (n.)). The notion is of a roll of paper containing a charge for a firearm.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


in weaponry, unit of small-arms ammunition, composed of a metal (usually brass) case, a propellant charge, a projectile or bullet, and a primer. The first cartridges, appearing in the second half of the 16th century, consisted merely of charges of powder wrapped in paper; the ball was loaded separately. During the next century, methods of including the ball with the powder were devised. In muzzle-loading a musket, the soldier bit off the end of the paper cartridge, poured a small amount of the powder into the firing pan, poured the rest down the barrel, and rammed the ball and paper down after it.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Printer then flashes red light, demanding new cartridge.
If a gun is recovered, a forensic scientist test-fires it to determine the
  markings it leaves on bullets and cartridge casings.
It has a cartridge if you are held under the water, you can inflate the suit to
  bring you safely to the surface.
Both burners are fed by a single, thread-on fuel cartridge.
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