anything put in or on something for conveyance or transportation; freight; cargo: The truck carried a load of watermelons.
the quantity that can be or usually is carried at one time, as in a cart.
this quantity taken as a unit of measure or weight or a discrete quantity (usually used in combination): carload; wagonload.
the quantity borne or sustained by something; burden: a tree weighed down by its load of fruit.
the weight supported by a structure or part.
the amount of work assigned to or to be done by a person, team, department, machine, or mechanical system: a reasonable load of work.
something that weighs down or oppresses like a burden; onus: Supporting her younger brothers has been a heavy load for her.
loads, Informal. a great quantity or number: loads of fun; loads of people.
the charge for a firearm.
a commission charged to buyers of mutual-fund shares.
Engineering. any of the forces that a structure is calculated to oppose, comprising any unmoving and unvarying force (dead load) any load from wind or earthquake, and any other moving or temporary force (live load)
the power delivered by a generator, motor, power station, or transformer.
a device that receives power.
Mechanics. the external resistance overcome by an engine, dynamo, or the like, under given conditions, measured and expressed in terms of the power required.
Geology. the burden of sediment being carried by a stream or river. Compare bed load.
Slang. a sufficient amount of liquor drunk to cause intoxication: He's got a load on tonight.
verb (used with object)
to put a load on or in; fill: to load a ship.
to supply abundantly, lavishly, or excessively with something (often followed by down ): They loaded us down with gifts.
to weigh down, burden, or oppress (often followed by down, with, on, etc.): to feel loaded down with responsibilities; to load oneself with obligations.
to insert a charge, projectile, etc., into (a firearm).
to place (film, tape, etc.) into a camera or other device: He loaded the film into the camera.
to place film, tape, etc., into (a camera or other device): How do you load this camera?
to take on as a load: a ship loading coal.
to add to the weight of, sometimes fraudulently: The silver candlesticks were loaded with lead.
Insurance. to increase (the net premium) by adding charges, as for expenses.
to add additional or prejudicial meaning to (a statement, question, etc.): The attorney kept loading his questions in the hope of getting the reply he wanted.
to overcharge (a word, expression, etc.) with extraneous values of emotion, sentiment, or the like: emotion that loads any reference to home, flag, and mother.
to weight (dice) so that they will always come to rest with particular faces upward.
Baseball. to have or put runners at (first, second, and third bases): They loaded the bases with two out in the eighth inning.
Fine Arts.
to place a large amount of pigment on (a brush).
to apply a thick layer of pigment to (a canvas).
(of metal being deep-drawn) to become welded to (the drawing tool).
(of material being ground) to fill the depressions in the surface of (a grinding wheel).
(in powder metallurgy) to fill the cavity of (a die).
to bring (a program or data) into main storage from external or auxiliary storage.
to place (an input/output medium) into an appropriate device, as by inserting a disk into a disk drive.
Electricity. to add (a power-absorbing device) to an electric circuit.
verb (used without object)
to put on or take on a load, as of passengers or goods: The bus usually loads at the side door.
to load a firearm.
to enter a carrier or conveyance (usually followed by into ): The students loaded quickly into the buses.
to become filled or occupied: The ship loaded with people in only 15 minutes.
loads, Informal. very much; a great deal: Thanks loads. It would help loads if you sent some money.
get a load of, Slang.
to look at; notice; observe.
to listen to with interest: Did you get a load of what she said?
load the dice, to put someone or something in a advantageous or disadvantageous position; affect or influence the result: Lack of sufficient education loaded the dice against him as a candidate for the job.

before 1000; Middle English lode (noun); orig. the same word as lode (Old English lād way, course, carrying); senses influenced by lade

loadless, adjective
reload, noun, verb
underload, verb (used with object)

load, lode.

7. weight, encumbrance. Load, burden referred originally to something placed on a person or animal or put into a vehicle for conveyance. Both load and burden are still used in this literal sense, though burden only infrequently, except in such fixed phrases as beast of burden and a ship of 1500 tons burden (carrying capacity). Both words have come to be used figuratively to refer to duties, cares, etc., that are oppressively heavy, and this is now the main meaning of burden : You have taken a load off my mind. Some children are a burden. 16. lade. 18. weight, encumber.

18. disburden.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
load (ləʊd)
1.  something to be borne or conveyed; weight
2.  a.  the usual amount borne or conveyed
 b.  (in combination): a carload
3.  something that weighs down, oppresses, or burdens: that's a load off my mind
4.  a single charge of a firearm
5.  dead load See also live load the weight that is carried by a structure
6.  electrical engineering, electronics
 a.  a device that receives or dissipates the power from an amplifier, oscillator, generator, or some other source of signals
 b.  the power delivered by a machine, generator, circuit, etc
7.  the force acting on a component in a mechanism or structure
8.  the resistance overcome by an engine or motor when it is driving a machine, etc
9.  an external force applied to a component or mechanism
10.  informal a load of a quantity of: a load of nonsense
11.  informal get a load of pay attention to
12.  slang (US), (Canadian) have a load on to be intoxicated
13.  slang shoot one's load (of a man) to ejaculate at orgasm
14.  (also intr) to place or receive (cargo, goods, etc) upon (a ship, lorry, etc)
15.  to burden or oppress
16.  to supply or beset (someone) with in abundance or overwhelmingly: they loaded her with gifts
17.  to cause to be biased: to load a question
18.  (also intr) to put an ammunition charge into (a firearm)
19.  photog to position (a film, cartridge, or plate) in (a camera)
20.  to weight or bias (a roulette wheel, dice, etc)
21.  insurance to increase (a premium) to cover expenses, etc
22.  to draw power from (an electrical device, such as a generator)
23.  to add material of high atomic number to (concrete) to increase its effectiveness as a radiation shield
24.  to increase the power output of (an electric circuit)
25.  to increase the work required from (an engine or motor)
26.  to apply force to (a mechanism or component)
27.  computing to transfer (a program) to a memory
28.  load the dice
 a.  to add weights to dice in order to bias them
 b.  to arrange to have a favourable or unfavourable position
[Old English lād course; in meaning, influenced by lade1; related to lead1]

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

"that which is laid upon a person or beast, burden," early 13c., from O.E. lad "way, course, carrying," from P.Gmc. *laido (cf. O.H.G. leita, Ger. leite, O.N. leið "way, course"); related to O.E. lædan "to guide" (see lead (v.)). Sense shifted 13c. to supplant words
based on lade, to which it is not etymologically connected; original association with "guide" is preserved in lodestone (see lode). Meaning "amount customarily loaded at one time" is from late 14c. Figurative sense of "burden weighing on the mind, heart, or soul" is first attested 1590s. Meaning "amount of work" is from 1946. Colloquial loads "lots" is attested from c.1600. The verb is from 1495; of firearms from 1620s. To take one's load "drink one's fill" is from 1590s; hence slang loaded "drunk" (1886). In the sense of "rich," loaded is attested from 1910. Phrase take a load off one's feet "sit down, relax" is from 1945. Get a load of "take a look at" is Amer.Eng. colloquial, attested from 1929.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

load (lōd)
A departure from normal body content, as of water, salt, or heat. A positive load is a quantity in excess of the normal; a negative load is a deficit.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
load   (lōd)  Pronunciation Key 
  1. The resistance, weight, or power drain sustained by a machine or electrical circuit. Compare effort.

  2. The power output of a generator or power plant.

  3. The amount of a pathogen or toxic substance present in an organism.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Computing Dictionary

load definition

1. To copy data (often program code to be run) into memory, possibly parsing it somehow in the process. E.g. "WordPerfect can't load this RTF file - are you sure it didn't get corrupted in the download?" Opposite of save.
2. The degree to which a computer, network, or other resource is used, sometimes expressed as a percentage of the maximum available. E.g. "What kind of CPU load does that program give?", "The network's constantly running at 100% load". Sometimes used, by extension, to mean "to increase the level of use of a resource". E.g. "Loading a spreadsheet really loads the CPU". See also: load balancing.
3. To install a piece of software onto a system. E.g. "The computer guy is gonna come load Excel on my laptop for me". This usage is widely considered to be incorrect.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idioms beginning with load, also see bricks shy of a load; carbo load; get a load of; take the load off.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Many funds now carry an upfront sales charge, the so-called load.
Its machine uses no more than a cup of water to wash each load of fabrics and
  uses much less energy than conventional devices.
Until these two issues are solved solar power cannot be a replacement to base
  load power.
The donkey stood squarely under this staggering load.
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