v. dis·charged, dis·charg·ing, dis·charg·es
a. To release, as from confinement, care, or duty: discharge a patient; discharge a soldier.
b. To let go; empty out: a train discharging commuters.
c. To pour forth; emit: a vent discharging steam.
d. To shoot: discharge a pistol.
2. To remove from office or employment. See Synonyms at dismiss.
3. To perform the obligations or demands of (an office, duty, or task).
4. To comply with the terms of (a debt or promise, for example).
5. Law To release from debt, as in bankruptcy.
6. To remove (color) from cloth, as by chemical bleaching.
7. Electricity To cause the release of stored energy or electric charge from (a battery, for example).
a. To apportion (weight) evenly, as over a door.
b. To relieve (a part) of excess weight by distribution of pressure.
9. To clear the record of the loan of (a returned library book).
a. To relieve (a ship, for example) of a burden or of contents; unload.
b. To unload or empty (contents).
a. To go off; fire: The musket discharged loudly.
b. To pour forth, emit, or release contents.
c. To become blurred, as a color or dye; run.
2. To undergo the release of stored energy or electric charge.
3. To get rid of a burden, load, or weight.
n. (dĭschärj′, dĭs-chärj)
1. The act of shooting or firing a projectile or weapon.
a. A flowing out or pouring forth; emission; secretion: a discharge of pus.
b. The amount or rate of emission or ejection.
c. Something that is discharged, released, emitted, or excreted: a watery discharge.
3. The act or an instance of removing an obligation, burden, or responsibility.
a. Fulfillment of the terms of something, such as a debt or promise.
b. Performance, as of an office or duty.
a. Dismissal or release from employment, service, care, or confinement.
b. An official document certifying such release, especially from military service.
a. Release of stored energy in a capacitor by the flow of current between its terminals.
b. Conversion of chemical energy to electric energy in a storage battery.
c. A flow of electricity in a dielectric, especially in a rarefied gas.
d. Elimination of net electric charge from a charged body.
7. The act of removing a load or burden.
[Middle English dischargen, from Old French deschargier, from Vulgar Latin *discarricāre, to unload : Latin dis-, dis- + Latin carricāre, to load; see CHARGE.]
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.