Definition of freight in US English:



  • 1Goods transported in bulk by truck, train, ship, or aircraft.

    ‘a decline in the amount of freight carried by rail’
    • ‘Over the past 50 years, Indian Railways have increased the amount of freight they carry, fourfold.’
    • ‘Armed guards had for decades been placed on freight trains carrying easily stolen freight through populated areas, but thefts in transit continued.’
    • ‘It's thought that two freight trains collided, sparking a giant fireball that devastated the surrounding area.’
    • ‘This decision will result in a large amount of heavy freight being carried by lorries on the already overcrowded roads.’
    • ‘According to transport experts, one freight train carries the equivalent of 75 lorry loads, reducing road congestion and pollution levels.’
    • ‘Two freight trains collided this morning near Kankakee, Illinois.’
    • ‘The incident occurred when 51 freight trains began rolling without a conductor and picked up speed.’
    • ‘If, as we are led to believe, there is some benefit to be obtained by continuing to allow night flights, ought we to surmise from this that the offending aircraft are simply carrying freight?’
    • ‘From the 1840s, railways revolutionised the speed of communication and the transport of passengers and, more gradually, freight.’
    • ‘Trucks heavily loaded with their freight often carry excess passengers on the tops of their loads.’
    • ‘After the metro was finally built one official plan from 1973 recommended that the trains also haul freight.’
    • ‘Passengers stopped travelling that line in 1970 and freight trains stopped using it in 1980.’
    • ‘Many risk their lives to stow away on freight trains.’
    • ‘British Railways closed the ailing branch line to passenger traffic in December 1961 and the last freight train ran several months later.’
    • ‘Trains all over the country, some carrying hazardous freight, were passing over cracked rails on a regular basis.’
    • ‘Camel trains also carried freight on the Mullan Road between Walla Walla, Washington, and Helena via the Coeur d' Alene Mountains and Hell Gate.’
    • ‘51 and 52 on the Dawkins Subdivision were mixed trains, carrying both freight and passengers.’
    • ‘The dispute affected interstate deliveries of both air and road freight.’
    • ‘Ministers also believe that the Forth Rail Bridge may be being placed under too much strain because of increasing amounts of freight being carried by rail.’
    • ‘Trains first transported only freight.’
    cargo, load, haul, consignment, delivery, shipment
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The transport of goods by truck, train, ship, or aircraft.
      ‘the truck-based system can outperform air freight at distances of up to seven hundred miles’
      • ‘What's more, local food doesn't have to travel very far so packaging, fuel consumption and air pollution from road freight are all kept to a minimum.’
      • ‘At the same time, some shipments may be transferred from air to ocean freight as customers accept longer journey times to save money, Emery's Noske said.’
      • ‘This contract covers freight for inbound and outbound shipments but will primarily used for inbound shipments; it does not cover small package shipments.’
      • ‘There will also be an examination of opportunities for traffic diversion including by rail, by pipeline, and the movement of freight to less congested ports outside Dublin.’
      • ‘The limited use of the Sligo rail service for freight could see its viability called into question by the rail review.’
      • ‘By the following year, the route was sufficiently developed to attract freight, a strategic service objective of B&O operations.’
      transportation, transport, conveyance, freightage, carriage, carrying, portage, haulage, distribution, delivery
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 A charge for transport by freight.
      ‘a bill indicating that the freight has been paid’
      • ‘You responded by paying the freight and calling home to ask Mom and Dad for more cash.’
      • ‘In the opinion of the Emigration Board some deduction should be made from the payment of freight on that account.’
      • ‘Vegetable exports dropped considerably because of factors such as high freight as well as other overhead costs.’
      • ‘When I queried the local supplier they said that their price was competitive because they had to pay taxes, freight, etc.’
      • ‘Generally, our ornamental products are shipped unassembled to save freight.’
      • ‘Which means that even with taxes and freight halfway across the world, wine is relatively competitively priced.’
      • ‘That translates into 2 million baht, then add in freight and import taxes.’
      • ‘Once you take it, you can't leave it without paying the freight.’
      • ‘They'd far prefer to charge all customers full freight rather than start extensive discounting programs.’
      • ‘But in case not, I paid full freight for the machine I described in this post.’
      • ‘All prices include freight paid in the continental U.S.A.’
      • ‘In this context, that issue will turn importantly on whether the hard copy version is sufficiently preferable to an electronic version to pay the freight.’
      • ‘Against this, realisations in the domestic market hover between Rs 2500-3000 per tonne, inclusive of excise, sales tax and freight.’
      • ‘A local private consortium including British Aerospace, bought the airport and freight provided its biggest income.’
  • 2US A freight train.

    ‘I can hear the regular wail of the twelve o'clock freight from my house’
    • ‘Magnus led him along the darkened wood corridor of the freight, stopping at a door with flickering yellowish light streaming out from beneath it.’
    • ‘They'll last indefinitely if they're used on the right spot on a freight.’
    • ‘Then an announcement that a freight had broken down and was blocking the approaches.’
    • ‘Currently, the freight was crossing the border between Nirvan and Dalach, heading north.’
    • ‘One remained at the wreck to help with the rescue work, but the other fled, only to be hit by a train near Portage when he attempted to hop a freight.’
    • ‘A penniless Fred, still in striped pants, tailcoat, and spats, hops a freight for New York, with Pop in tow.’
  • 3A load or burden.

    ‘these warm winds deposit their freight of moisture in showers of rain’


[with object]
  • 1Transport (goods) in bulk by truck, train, ship, or aircraft.

    ‘the metals had been freighted from the city’
    • ‘The contents, including pieces from Mrs Beeton's breakfast table and items from the Prince Regent's Grand Service, were packed, crated and freighted to London.’
    • ‘Again, you'd expect that the most ‘important’ words in a document, in terms of identifying what it's about, would be the ones most individually freighted with meaning.’
    • ‘They went to Brussels because of concerns over predicted huge rises in the cost of freighting livestock.’
    • ‘I'm aware that fuel can be freighted out of Perth for about two cents a litre by road.’
    • ‘But until the railroad came through Las Vegas and Moapa in 1905 the ore was freighted to Modena, Utah.’
    • ‘I have had some correspondence with the superintendent of the canal about freighting stone to Philadelphia.’
    • ‘There was also glass in the windows, and several loads of finished lumber had been freighted in from Dodge City.’
    • ‘Russian rail authorities confirmed that in the first five months of this year, 3.6 million tons of crude oil had been freighted to China from eastern Siberia, an increase of 37 percent from last year.’
    • ‘The original Chinook was a sled dog Walden had used while freighting supplies for gold miners in the Yukon several years before.’
    • ‘This material is freighted to Ghyari by truck and hauled up the ice on mule and donkey trains.’
    • ‘Yet, at the outbreak of the American Revolution English colonists owned more slaves than any of their European counterparts, and English merchants led the world in freighting African slaves to the Americas.’
    transport, transport in bulk, convey, carry, ship, drive
    View synonyms
  • 2be freighted withBe laden or burdened with.

    ‘each word was freighted with anger’
    • ‘The commission's fact-finding, moreover, should be dispassionate; it should not be freighted with agendas that create incentives - wittingly or not - to maximize or minimize some contributory factors at the expense of others.’
    • ‘For Kerouac, the word ‘beat’ was freighted with meaning.’
    • ‘How you knock on a door, says Mr Pullin, is freighted with meaning: there is a world of difference between tentative tapping and insistent hammering.’
    • ‘But my opinions on such matters are freighted with too much baggage to be taken seriously.’
    • ‘It's not freighted with its own self-importance.’
    • ‘But, as fleeting as Picasso's involvement had been, Gauguin's example was formative, perhaps because it was so freighted with cultural significance.’
    • ‘They are freighted with heavy symbolism, and have constituted part of the artistic vocabulary of visual artists for generations.’
    • ‘Yet few tourists, standing in its shadow on the Champ de Mars, scene of the first anniversary of the Revolution in 1790, may be aware that this site of memory is freighted with so much historical meaning.’
    • ‘Roeg packs his film with foreboding cuts; pay attention, because everything seems intentional or freighted with meaning.’
    • ‘Tyler goes a long way toward describing why it is that children are freighted with all the dreams and ambitions of so many Americans.’


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘hire of a ship for transporting goods’): from Middle Dutch, Middle Low German vrecht, variant of vracht ‘ship's cargo’. Compare with fraught.