1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Charge
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.