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[chahr-ter] /ˈtʃɑr tər/
a document, issued by a sovereign or state, outlining the conditions under which a corporation, colony, city, or other corporate body is organized, and defining its rights and privileges.
(often initial capital letter) a document defining the formal organization of a corporate body; constitution:
the Charter of the United Nations.
authorization from a central or parent organization to establish a new branch, chapter, etc.
a grant by a sovereign power creating a corporation, as the royal charters granted to British colonies in America.
Also called charter party. a contract by which part or all of a ship is leased for a voyage or a stated time.
a tour, vacation, or trip by charter arrangement:
The travel agency is offering charters to Europe and the Caribbean.
special privilege or immunity.
verb (used with object)
to establish by charter:
to charter a bank.
to lease or hire for exclusive use:
The company will charter six buses for the picnic.
to give special favor or privilege to.
of or relating to a method of travel in which the transportation is specially leased or hired for members of a group or association:
a charter flight to Europe.
that can be leased or hired for exclusive or private use:
a charter boat for deep-sea fishing.
done or held in accordance with a charter:
a charter school.
Origin of charter
1200-50; Middle English chartre < Old French < Latin chartul(a) little paper (by assimilation), equivalent to chart(a) (see charta) + -ula -ule
Related forms
charterable, adjective
charterage, noun
charterer, noun
charterless, adjective
recharter, verb (used with object), noun
subcharter, noun, verb
Can be confused
charted, chartered.
9. See hire. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for charter
  • In its first six years, its partner countries exceeded the growth rate set out in the original charter agreement.
  • He announced grant money for a new charter school and a fire house.
  • The bishops' task was to come up with a charter for the protection of children and to restore trust in their leadership.
  • charter flights no longer bring tourists to gaze at the dunes.
  • But the new charter will weaken property rights, for example by allowing expropriations before rather than after a court ruling.
  • But it would take a significant amount of diplomatic effort to modify the charter.
  • But the commercial charter flights had started off well and were moving the troops on schedule.
  • It was the last in a convoy of charter buses, and none would leave until all the rest could follow, including this one.
  • charter boats often specialize in specific types of fish depending on the season and location.
  • Take a guided fishing trip with charter boats to fish with experienced local guides.
British Dictionary definitions for charter


a formal document from the sovereign or state incorporating a city, bank, college, etc, and specifying its purposes and rights
(sometimes capital) a formal document granting or demanding from the sovereign power of a state certain rights or liberties
a document issued by a society or an organization authorizing the establishment of a local branch or chapter
a special privilege or exemption
(often capital) the fundamental principles of an organization; constitution: the Charter of the United Nations
  1. the hire or lease of transportation
  2. the agreement or contract regulating this
  3. (as modifier): a charter flight
a law, policy, or decision containing a loophole which allows a specified group to engage more easily in an activity considered undesirable: a beggars' charter
(maritime law) another word for charterparty
verb (transitive)
to lease or hire by charterparty
to hire (a vehicle, etc)
to grant a charter of incorporation or liberties to (a group or person)
Derived Forms
charterer, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French chartre, from Latin chartula a little paper, from charta leaf of papyrus; see chart
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for charter

c.1200, from Old French chartre (12c.) "charter, letter, document, covenant," from Latin chartula, literally "little paper," diminutive of charta, carta "paper, document" (see chart (n.)).


early 15c., "provide with a charter," from charter (n.). Meaning "to hire" is attested from 1806. Related: Chartered; chartering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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