Etymology: Middle English lod, from Old English lād support, carrying — more at lode
Date: 12th century
a. the quantity that can be carried at one time by a specified means; especially a measured quantity of a commodity fixed for each type of carrier — often used in combination <a boatload of tourists> b. whatever is put on a person or pack animal to be carried ; pack c. whatever is put in a ship or vehicle or airplane for conveyance ; cargo; especially a quantity of material assembled or packed as a shipping unit 2. a. a mass or weight supported by something <branches bent low by their load of fruit> b. the forces to which a structure is subjected due to superposed weight or to wind pressure on the vertical surfaces; broadly the forces to which a given object is subjected 3. a. something that weighs down the mind or spirits <took a load off her mind> b. a burdensome or laborious responsibility <always carried his share of the load> 4. slang an intoxicating amount of liquor drunk 5. a large quantity ; lot — usually used in plural 6. a. a charge for a firearm b. the quantity of material loaded into a device at one time 7. external resistance overcome by a machine or prime mover 8. a. power output (as of a power plant) or power consumption (as by a device) b. a device to which power is delivered 9. a. (1) the amount of work that a person carries or is expected to carry (2) the amount of authorized work to be performed by a machine, a group, a department, or a factory b. the demand on the operating resources of a system (as a telephone exchange or a refrigerating apparatus) 10. slang eyeful — used in the phrase get a load of 11. the amount of a deleterious microorganism, parasite, growth, or substance present in a human or animal body <measure viral load in the blood> <the worm load in rats> — called also burden 12. an amount added (as to the price of a security or the net premium in insurance) to represent selling expense and profit to the distributor 13. genetic load II. verb Date: 15th century transitive verb 1. a. to put a load in or on <load a truck> b. to place in or on a means of conveyance <load freight> 2. a. to encumber or oppress with something heavy, laborious, or disheartening ; burden <a company loaded down with debts> b. to place as a burden or obligation <load more work on him> 3. a. to increase the weight of by adding something heavy b. to add a conditioning substance (as a mineral salt) to for body c. to weight or shape (dice) to fall unfairly d. to pack with one-sided or prejudicial influences ; bias e. to charge with multiple meanings (as emotional associations or hidden implications) f. to weight (as a test) with factors influencing validity or outcome 4. a. to supply in abundance or excess ; heap, pack b. to put runners on (first, second, and third bases) in baseball 5. a. to put a load or charge in (a device or piece of equipment) <load a gun> b. to place or insert especially as a load in a device or piece of equipment <load film in a camera> c. to copy or transfer (as a program or data) into a computer's memory especially from an external source (as a disk drive or the Internet) 6. to alter (as an alcoholic drink) by adding an adulterant or drug 7. a. to add a load to (an insurance premium) b. to add a sum to after profits and expenses are accounted for <loaded prices> intransitive verb 1. to receive a load 2. to put a load on or in a carrier, device, or container; especially to insert the charge or cartridge in the chamber of a firearm 3. to go or go in as a load <tourists loading onto a bus> 4. to become loaded into a computer's memory <the program loads quickly> • loader noun
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.