Definition of unload in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Remove goods from (a vehicle, ship, container, etc.)

    ‘she hadn't finished unloading the car’
    • ‘As for moving day, we started loading the first car at about 9.00 on Saturday morning and finished unloading the van and three cars by 3.00 that afternoon.’
    • ‘In an area where just 40 years ago ships were being launched and cranes busily loading and unloading vessels of all sorts, a new city district is being developed.’
    • ‘The knifeman struck as the woman was unloading her silver BMW estate car on a side street off Chorley New Road on Thursday at about 8.45 am.’
    • ‘The worker, employed by stevedoring company Perkins, was crushed by a container while unloading an Indonesian ship.’
    • ‘The bus was unloaded and moved to a safe space in the car park, while the tourists continued with their trip into York.’
    • ‘When workers began industrial action and refused to unload a plane, two union delegates were sacked.’
    • ‘As we approached the port of Burgas we could see ships being unloaded & I asked about container ships.’
    • ‘Hector had just finished unloading the van and its occupants into the surrounding desert.’
    • ‘By Wednesday or Thursday, shipping clerks at the store unload the truck and stock their shelves with the flo or-ready merchandise from the boxes.’
    • ‘Before everyone even unloads the van, Brockman already handled dropping into the tombstone.’
    • ‘John Micklethwaite, of the Health and Safety Executive, described how Mr Kick was seen to climb up to unload a Renault Clio before disappearing from the camera's view.’
    • ‘Sebastian Jamieson sings and dreams while he punches the till, packs the shelves and unloads trucks at Clicks Store in Grahamstown's Church Square.’
    • ‘The 47-year-old woman was approached by a man as she was unloading her silver BMW estate car on the outskirts of the town centre.’
    • ‘Quin watched the men finish unloading the truck, and head inside.’
    • ‘Ships from London had to be unloaded and the trade goods and supplies stored in warehouses at the ports or directly loaded into canoes and boats for shipment to posts.’
    unpack, empty, unburden, disburden
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Remove (goods) from a vehicle, ship, container, etc.
      ‘the men unloaded the wheat into the bays’
      • ‘Lorries and vans blocked two of Bolton busiest main roads, and tempers boiled over as Ashburner Street stallholders arrived to find they could not unload their goods.’
      • ‘He was unloading goods from a van when three men bundled him into the storeroom of the supermarket and demanded cash.’
      • ‘You can still see the piles of the original wharf where the goods were unloaded.’
      • ‘The trailer was unloaded off the ship by Irish Ferries' personnel and left for collection in the company's container depot.’
      • ‘All vehicles that need to unload goods at the shops on the street will be allowed to do so after business hours, the sources said.’
      • ‘We meet at the Canmore fire hall where the bikes are unloaded from vehicles.’
      • ‘While unloading a couple of sacks of lobster for his chef, Vernon asked me if I could help him out with a very sticky situation.’
      • ‘There is also a picture showing activity outside as farmers unload their beet from horse carts 75 years ago as well as one showing the beet arriving by train, cart and lorry.’
      • ‘With precise motions, they unloaded bikes from vehicles and began to set up their equipment in the designated transition area.’
      • ‘It takes more than a day for a vehicle to reach a particular shop to unload the goods and another day to come out of the yard.’
      • ‘Workmen at the docks were unloading the crates from the tugboats and cruises.’
      • ‘In 1592, on the orders of the then Lord Mayor of York, cloth was sold in the market each Friday and cranes were used for loading and unloading the goods.’
      • ‘I now see people walking their dogs, delivery men unloading their goods, students heading to class.’
      • ‘He said businesses appreciated the ease with which they could load and unload goods without being hindered by illegally parked cars.’
      • ‘The biggest offenders are security vans, council vehicles and shops loading and unloading goods.’
      • ‘You're on the highway for up to 11 hours at a stretch, not to mention putting in another three hours a day loading or unloading goods.’
      • ‘A delivery man claimed that he came within inches of being hit by a car as he was unloading his goods in Walmgate on Wednesday.’
      • ‘Villagers say the main problem is with HGVs and other large vehicles parking on the pavement to unload goods to businesses in the village.’
      • ‘The goods were snatched while the 17-year-old was unloading equipment from the boot of a Vauxhall Astra estate, ready for the first lesson in a new venue.’
      • ‘Likewise, imported goods could also be unloaded at Port Elliott and then moved inland via the rail link and the river paddle steamers.’
      remove, offload, discharge, jettison, drop, deliver, deposit, set down, leave, put off, tip out, pour out
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2no object (of a vehicle, ship, container, etc.) have goods removed.
      ‘the street was jammed with trucks unloading’
      • ‘One has to bear in mind also what was said in the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board letter, that, when a ship is unloading, the normal practice is to put the goods in a transit shed.’
      • ‘By the time he was fourteen he was a full fledged docker staggering under the crates his boyish frame hauled from the ships unloading at Algeciras.’
      • ‘Remarkably and against all odds, the drugs are sometimes seen when the truck unloads at the Michigan landfill.’
      • ‘Two trucks can unload at the same time while two others are being cleaned.’
      • ‘Baltimore remains a major port, but the ships unload in newly built facilities situated miles from the Inner Harbor.’
    3. 1.3informal Get rid of (something unwanted)
      ‘he had unloaded his depreciating stock on his unsuspecting wife’
      • ‘But if you never really liked them all that well to begin with, this might be a good time to unload them.’
      • ‘No wonder owner Martin Peretz was eager to unload controlling interest in the magazine to investors Michael Steinhardt and Roger Hertog.’
      • ‘We unloaded our spare supplies on them and wished them good luck.’
      • ‘I said nothing, so as not to spoil the evening, but I do not appreciate other people unloading their junk disguised as gifts on us.’
      • ‘He thinks he did nothing wrong by unloading his stock when he knew the company was going under.’
      sell, discard, jettison, offload, eject, get rid of, dispose of, pass off, throw away, throw out, clear out, scrap, destroy
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4 Give expression to (oppressive thoughts or feelings)
      ‘the meeting had been a chance for her to unload some of her feelings about her son’
      • ‘I desperately wanted to talk to those close to me and to unload that agony I was carrying alone but something always stopped me.’
      • ‘Cotton hand wraps will protect your tendons and bones as you unload the day's frustrations on the bag.’
      • ‘I really did myself a disservice by not taking my mother's old advice and counting to ten before I unload my fury on someone.’
      • ‘This letter doesn't have a huge conclusion; I realize that unloading my fears is probably never going to change the world.’
      • ‘He unloaded his frustrations, his fears, his biggest worry.’
      • ‘Few songwriters are as good as Pernice at unloading psychic baggage in song.’
      • ‘Sometimes it is easier to unload emotions on a complete stranger rather than to risk burdening one's kith & kin.’
      • ‘It was difficult to say who was more pleased - the scientist, because of the enthusiasm of the children or the children, because they got to unload their curiosity.’
      • ‘Each family member does have moments where they unload their thoughts.’
      • ‘No player finds comfort in a prolonged period of idleness and Khizanishvili unloaded his frustration onto his agent, who in turn sought an explanation from McLeish.’
      • ‘And Westfeldt unloads her fake neuroses in too many dull ripoffs of good Woody Allen.’
      • ‘We can barter for somefing perhaps ya want to unload some anger?’
      • ‘It's like I couldn't unload my feelings somehow.’
      • ‘I glared into all four corners, hoping I would have a victim on which I could unload my mounting frustrations.’
  • 2Remove (ammunition) from a gun or (film) from a camera.

    • ‘When L.S. finished photographing the locations that interested her, she had difficulty unloading the film from her camera.’
    • ‘Bring blank removable labels and mark each film canister with the subject as you unload it from the camera.’
    • ‘Quickly unloading the film, Haviv hid the incriminating rolls, just in case, and later smuggled them out of the bloodied town.’
    • ‘They only had a range of about three furlongs and the film had to be unloaded from the camera and rushed to a dark room on the track to be processed before it could be shown to the stewards.’
    • ‘And with each gun she picked up she unloaded the paint bullets and replaced them with the real bullets.’
    • ‘The Yellow dropped his expression and unloaded his crossbow.’
    • ‘Officers unloaded the gun of its 13 rounds of ammunition before questioning Jaroenwit, who initially refused to give any details whatsoever.’
    • ‘The person over there opened the magazine and unloaded the bullets from it.’