1. a document, issued by a sovereign or state, outlining the conditions under which a corporation, colony, city, or other corporate body is organized, and defining its rights and privileges.
  2. (often initial capital letter) a document defining the formal organization of a corporate body; constitution: the Charter of the United Nations.
  3. authorization from a central or parent organization to establish a new branch, chapter, etc.
  4. a grant by a sovereign power creating a corporation, as the royal charters granted to British colonies in America.
  5. Also called charter party. a contract by which part or all of a ship is leased for a voyage or a stated time.
  6. a tour, vacation, or trip by charter arrangement: The travel agency is offering charters to Europe and the Caribbean.
  7. special privilege or immunity.

verb (used with object)

  1. to establish by charter: to charter a bank.
  2. to lease or hire for exclusive use: The company will charter six buses for the picnic.
  3. to give special favor or privilege to.


  1. of or relating to a method of travel in which the transportation is specially leased or hired for members of a group or association: a charter flight to Europe.
  2. that can be leased or hired for exclusive or private use: a charter boat for deep-sea fishing.
  3. done or held in accordance with a charter: a charter school.


  1. (of a professional person) having attained certain professional qualifications or standards and acquired membership of a particular professional body


  1. a formal document from the sovereign or state incorporating a city, bank, college, etc, and specifying its purposes and rights
  2. (sometimes capital) a formal document granting or demanding from the sovereign power of a state certain rights or liberties
  3. a document issued by a society or an organization authorizing the establishment of a local branch or chapter
  4. a special privilege or exemption
  5. (often capital) the fundamental principles of an organization; constitutionthe Charter of the United Nations
    1. the hire or lease of transportation
    2. the agreement or contract regulating this
    3. (as modifier)a charter flight
  6. a law, policy, or decision containing a loophole which allows a specified group to engage more easily in an activity considered undesirablea beggars’ charter
  7. maritime law another word for charterparty

verb (tr)

  1. to lease or hire by charterparty
  2. to hire (a vehicle, etc)
  3. to grant a charter of incorporation or liberties to (a group or person)

early 15c., “provide with a charter,” from charter (n.). Meaning “to hire” is attested from 1806. Related: Chartered; chartering.


c.1200, from Old French chartre (12c.) “charter, letter, document, covenant,” from Latin chartula, literally “little paper,” diminutive of charta, carta “paper, document” (see chart (n.)).

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