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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 pertaining 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.
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. 2014.
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Examples for charters
  • Money market funds are required by law and by their own charters to hold only high-quality securities.
  • If charters are so great let them operate in buildings owned by the businesses that run them.
  • In practice, over nearly two decades of charters, it has not happened.
  • And many funds have charters stipulating that their investments be rated by one of the big two.
  • There are surely lots of other charters of once-loathed companies going begging.
  • Clubs of investors are being pre-cleared so they can pick up bank charters quickly when opportunities arise.
  • The military flies down twice a week, using charters to cut costs.
  • Experts disagreed on whether, and when, the public school systems that authorize charters could intervene.
  • Enter the world of small cruise liners and private charters.
  • Shipwrecks, shoals and oyster reefs provide fertile fishing spots for charters and boat owners.
British Dictionary definitions for charters


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 charters
mid-13c., from O.Fr. chartre "charter," from L. chartula, dim. of charta "paper, document" (see chart). The verb meaning "to hire" is attested from 1806. Charterhouse, the great English public school founded in London in 1611, is a folk etymology from chartreux (see chartreuse); it was founded upon the site of a Carthusian monastery.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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