1. A document issued by a sovereign, legislature, or other authority, creating a public or private corporation, such as a city, college, or bank, and defining its privileges and purposes.
2. A written grant from the sovereign power of a country conferring certain rights and privileges on a person, a corporation, or the people: A royal charter exempted the Massachusetts colony from direct interference by the Crown.
3. A document outlining the principles, functions, and organization of a corporate body; a constitution: the city charter.
4. An authorization from a central organization to establish a local branch or chapter.
5. Special privilege or immunity.
a. A contract for the commercial leasing of a vessel or space on a vessel.
b. The hiring or leasing of an aircraft, vessel, or other vehicle, especially for the exclusive, temporary use of a group of travelers.
7. A written instrument given as evidence of agreement, transfer, or contract; a deed.
Of, relating to, or being an arrangement in which transportation is leased by a group of travelers for their exclusive, temporary use.
tr.v. char·tered, char·ter·ing, char·ters
1. To grant a charter to; establish by charter.
2. To hire or lease by charter: charter an oil tanker.
3. To hire (a bus or airplane, for example) for the exclusive, temporary use of a group of travelers.
[Middle English chartre, from Old French, from Latin chartula, diminutive of charta, paper made from papyrus; see CARD1.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.