Also called cartouche. a cylindrical case of pasteboard, metal, or the like, for holding a complete charge of powder, and often also the bullet or the shot for a rifle, machine gun, or other small arm.
a case containing any explosive charge, as for blasting.
any small container for powder, liquid, or gas, made for ready insertion into some device or mechanism:
an ink cartridge for a pen.
Also called magazine. Photography. a lightproof metal or plastic container for a roll of film, usually containing both the supply and take-up spools, as well as a pressure plate, for rapid loading without the necessity of threading the film.
Audio. pickup (def 8).
a flat, compact container enclosing an endless loop of audiotape, operated by inserting into a slot in a player.
Contemporary Examples

A cartridge for white smoke is waiting if the vote proves decisive.
With Pope Benedict XVI’s Retirement, Conclave Rules Prove Unclear Christopher Dickey February 11, 2013

He writes that he discovered thousands of cartridge casings on the barricades, apparently fired from the police squads.
The Battle for Kiev Begins Oleg Shynkarenko February 17, 2014

Historical Examples

Bolts of it leaped upward to fasten upon gun-butts and the buckles of the cartridge belts.
A World is Born Leigh Douglass Brackett

If you have a horse and a gun and a cartridge, it is not so bad.
A Woman Tenderfoot Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson

Now and again the eye was caught by little heaps of cartridge cases marking the spot where some soldier had lain down.
With Methuen’s Column on an Ambulance Train Ernest N. Bennett

He was reluctant to exhaust a cartridge unless it was an absolute necessity.
The Fiery Totem Argyll Saxby

And the ragged crew struck at the spoil like a wave, lapping up arms, cartridge boxes, knapsacks.
Ride Proud, Rebel! Andre Alice Norton

But Lennon thrust his rifle through the back of his cartridge belt.
Bloom of Cactus Robert Ames Bennet

I ask you whether you are familiar with these cartridge cases.
Warren Commission (3 of 26): Hearings Vol. III (of 15) The President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy

Alfred walked over and stuck him in the throat to save a cartridge.
Blazed Trail Stories Stewart Edward White

a cylindrical, usually metal casing containing an explosive charge and often a bullet, for a rifle or other small arms
a case for an explosive, such as a blasting charge
an electromechanical transducer in the pick-up of a record player, usually either containing a piezoelectric crystal (crystal cartridge) or an electromagnet (magnetic cartridge)
a container for magnetic tape that is inserted into a tape deck in audio or video systems. It is about four times the size of a cassette
(photog) Also called cassette, magazine. a light-tight film container that enables a camera to be loaded and unloaded in normal light
(computing) a removable unit in a printer which contains black or coloured ink
(computing) a removable unit in a computer, such as an integrated circuit, containing software

1570s, cartage, corruption of French cartouche “a full charge for a pistol,” originally wrapped in paper (16c.), from Italian cartoccio “roll of paper,” an augmentative form of Medieval Latin carta “paper” (see card (n.)). The notion is of a roll of paper containing a charge for a firearm. The modern form of the English word is recorded from 1620s. Extended broadly 20c. to other small containers and their contents.


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