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From Middle English freyght, from Middle Dutch vracht, Middle Low German vrecht (cost of transport), ultimately from Proto-Germanic *fra- (intensive prefix) + Proto-Germanic *aihtiz (possession), from Proto-Indo-European *h₂eyḱ- (to possess), equivalent to for- +‎ aught. Cognate with Old High German frēht (earnings), Old English ǣht (owndom), and a doublet of fraught. More at for-, own.


  • enPR: frāt, IPA(key): /fɹeɪt/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪt


freight (uncountable)

  1. Payment for transportation.
    The freight was more expensive for cars than for coal.
    • 1881, Federal Reporter, 1st Series, Vol. 6, p. 412:
      Had the ship earned her freight? To earn freight there must, of course, be either a right delivery, or a due and proper offer to deliver the goods to the consignees.
  2. Goods or items in transport.
    The freight shifted and the trailer turned over on the highway.
  3. Transport of goods.
    They shipped it ordinary freight to spare the expense.
  4. (figuratively) Cultural or emotional associations.
    A wedding ring is small, but it has massive emotional freight.


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freight (third-person singular simple present freights, present participle freighting, simple past and past participle freighted)

  1. (transitive) To transport (goods).
  2. To load with freight. Also figurative.
    • 1957, James Baldwin, “Sonny’s Blues,” in Going to Meet the Man, Dial, 1965,[1]
      Everything I did seemed awkward to me, and everything I said sounded freighted with hidden meaning.
    • 2014 March 1, Rupert Christiansen, “English translations rarely sing”, in The Daily Telegraph (Review), page R19:
      English National Opera is a title freighted with implications, and that first adjective promises not only a geographical reach, but a linguistic commitment too.

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