THE ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA

A DICTIONARY OF ARTS, SCIENCES, LITERATURE AND GENERAL INFORMATION

ELEVENTH EDITION 1911

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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 firearm, 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.
Transcriber's note: A few typographical errors have been corrected. They appear in the text like this, and the explanation will appear when the mouse pointer is moved over the marked passage. Sections in Greek will yield a transliteration when the pointer is moved over them, and words using diacritic characters in the Latin Extended Additional block, which may not display in some fonts or browsers, will display an unaccented version.

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