charter n[Old French chartre letter, formal document, from Late Latin chartula , from Latin, diminutive of charta sheet of papyrus]
1 a : a grant or guarantee of rights, powers, or privileges from an authority or agency of a state or country [a state bank ] compare constitution
b : a written instrument that creates and defines the powers and privileges of a city, educational institution, or corporation compare articles of incorporation
2 : a written instrument from the authorities of a society creating a lodge, branch, or chapter
3 : a lease of a ship esp. for the delivery of cargo called also charter party
vt 1 : to establish, enable, or convey by charter [ a bank]
2 : to lease or hire for usually exclusive and temporary use [ a ship]
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.