Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French descharger, from Late Latin discarricare, from Latin dis- + Late Latin carricare to load — more at charge
Date: 14th century
1. to relieve of a charge, load, or burden:
a. unload <discharge a cargo ship> b. to release from an obligation c. to release electrical energy from (as a battery or capacitor) by a discharge 2. a. to let or put off <discharge passengers> <discharge cargo> b. shoot <discharge an arrow> c. to release from confinement, custody, or care <discharge a prisoner> <discharge a patient> d. to give outlet or vent to ; emit <discharge emotions> 3. a. (1) to dismiss from employment (2) to release from service or duty <discharge a soldier> b. to get rid of (as a debt or obligation) by performing an appropriate action (as payment) c. to set aside ; annul d. to order (a legislative committee) to end consideration of a bill in order to bring it before the house for action 4. to bear and distribute (as the weight of a wall above an opening) 5. to bleach out or remove (color or dye) in dyeing and printing textiles 6. to cancel the record of the loan of (a library book) upon return intransitive verb 1. a. to throw off or deliver a load, charge, or burden b. to release electrical energy by a discharge 2. a. go off, fire — used of a gun b. spread, run <some dyes discharge> c. to pour forth fluid or other contents Synonyms: see perform • dischargeable adjective • dischargee noun • discharger noun II. noun Date: 14th century 1. a. the act of relieving of something that oppresses ; release b. something that discharges or releases; especially a certification of release or payment 2. the state of being discharged or relieved 3. the act of discharging or unloading 4. legal release from confinement 5. a firing off 6. a. a flowing or issuing out <a discharge of spores>; also a rate of flow b. something that is emitted <a purulent discharge> 7. the act of removing an obligation or liability 8. a. release or dismissal especially from an office or employment b. complete separation from military service 9. a. the equalization of a difference of electric potential between two points b. the conversion of the chemical energy of a battery into electrical energy
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.