DISCHARGE (adapted from the O. Fr. descharge, modern décharge, from a med. Lat. discargare, to unload, dis- and carricare, to load, cf. "charge"), a word meaning relief from a load or burden, hence applied to the unloading of a ship, the firing of a weapon, the passage of electricity from an electrified body, the issue from a wound, etc. From the sense of relief from an obligation, "discharge" is also applied to the release of a soldier or sailor from military or naval service, or of the crew of a merchant vessel, or to the dismissal from an office or situation. In law, it is used of a document or other evidence that can be accepted as proof of the release from an obligation, as of a receipt, on payment of money due. Similarly it is applied to the release in accordance with law of a person in custody on a criminal charge, and to the legal release of a bankrupt from further liability for debts provable in the bankruptcy except those incurred by fraud or debts to the crown. It is also applied to the reversal of an order of a court. In the case of divorce, where the rule nisi is not made absolute, the rule is said to be discharged.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)