Charge With: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
October 6, 2023

The phrase "charge with" is a versatile expression that indicates formally accusing someone of a crime or entrusting them with a significant responsibility or task. It can convey a serious allegation or an assignment of duty, depending on the context in which it is used.

In short:

"Charge with" mainly refers to accusing someone of a crime or tasking someone with a responsibility.

What Does "Charge With" Mean?

The phrase "charge with" involves accusing someone formally of a crime or instructing someone with a responsibility or task. It is a formal expression used primarily in legal and law enforcement contexts.

Let's dive into its core meanings and usage:

  • It often means to accuse someone of a crime formally. For example, someone might be "charged with theft" if accused of stealing.
  • Another meaning is to entrust someone with a task or duty. If you "charge someone with a mission," you give them a particular task.

Regardless of the context, the term emphasizes responsibility, either in the sense of blame or duty.

Where Does "Charge With" Come From?

The history of "charge with" is quite intriguing.

Historical Origins

The word "charge" has its roots in the Old French word charger, meaning "to load" or "to burden." This makes sense since both idiom meanings involve placing a load or burden on someone, either as an accusation or a duty.

"He was charged with the task of guarding the treasures." - from a 16th-century manuscript.

10 Examples of "Charge With" in Sentences

Let's explore how "charge with" can be used in different contexts:

  • The police charged him with robbery after finding the stolen goods in his home.
  • She was charged with the responsibility of leading the team to success.
  • Although many assumed she was just a lady of leisure, she was actually charged with running the family's charitable foundation.
  • He was charged with negligence after the accident.
  • After being charged with the responsibility of overseeing the new project, she made a promise to herself to commit to excellence in every detail.
  • I'm charged with organizing the charity event next month.
  • The store owner charged him with theft after he was caught trying to take a five-finger discount on some electronics.
  • She felt charged with the energy of the crowd and took the lead.
  • When they charged me with renovating the old library, I vowed to do my best to restore it to its former glory.
  • The soldier was charged with desertion and faced a court-martial.

Examples of "Charge With" in Pop Culture

The idiom has also found its way into pop culture:

  • In the movie "A Few Good Men," two soldiers are charged with the death of a fellow marine.
  • The song "Accusations" by Tim Rogers mentions someone being charged with a crime they didn't commit.
  • In the TV show "Law & Order," individuals are frequently charged with various crimes, showcasing the legal use of the term.

Synonyms: Other/Different Ways to Say "Charge With"

Several terms can convey similar meanings to "charge with," depending on the context.

Here's a list of alternatives:

  • Accuse of
  • Task with
  • Entrust with
  • Assign the duty
  • Hold responsible for

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Charge With"

  • What are the main meanings of "charge with"?

The idiom primarily means to formally accuse someone of a crime or to assign a responsibility to someone.

  • Can "charge with" be used in a positive context?

Yes, when referring to assigning someone a task or duty, it can be seen in a positive light.

  • Does "charge with" always refer to legal contexts?

No, it can also mean entrusting someone with a task outside of legal scenarios.

  • How does "charge with" relate to electrical charges?

It doesn't. While "charge" can refer to electrical energy, in the idiom "charge with," it pertains to responsibilities or accusations.

  • Is "charge with" a common phrase in English literature?

It's relatively common, especially in contexts involving crime or responsibilities.

  • Can I use "charge with" in casual conversations?

Yes, it's appropriate for both formal and informal situations.

  • Is "charge with" used globally?

While the idiom is recognized globally, its usage might vary depending on the region and cultural context.

  • Are there other idioms related to "charge with"?

Yes, phrases like "take charge," "in charge," and "charge ahead" are related but have different meanings.

  • Can "charge with" be used metaphorically?

It can be, especially when referring to tasks or duties. For instance, "He was charged with the spirit of adventure."

  • What's the opposite of "charge with"?

Depending on the context, "acquit" (in legal terms) or "relieve from duty" can be seen as opposites.

Final Thoughts About "Charge With"

The phrase "charge with" indicates that someone is formally accused of a specific crime or entrusted with a particular responsibility or task. It denotes an imposition of duty or a legal action that assigns blame or responsibility.

Here's a quick wrap-up:

  • It has two primary meanings related to accusation and responsibility.
  • The phrase has historical roots in the Old French term "charger."
  • It is frequently used in various contexts in pop culture.
  • "Charge with" remains a relevant and dynamic phrase in contemporary language.

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