c. 1200, "a load, a weight," from Old French charge "load, burden; imposition," from chargier "to load, to burden," from Late Latin carricare "to load a wagon or cart," from Latin carrus "two-wheeled wagon" (see car). A doublet of cargo.
Meaning "responsibility, burden" is from mid-14c. (as in take charge, late 14c.; in charge, 1510s), which progressed to "pecuniary burden, cost, burden of expense" (mid-15c.), and then to "price demanded for service or goods" (1510s). Meaning "anything committed to another's custody, care, or management" is from 1520s.
Legal sense of "accusation" is late 15c.; earlier "injunction, order" (late 14c.). Meaning "address delivered by a judge to a jury at the close of a trial" is from 1680s. Electrical sense is from 1767. Slang meaning "thrill, kick" (American English) is from 1951. Meaning "quantity of powder required for one discharge of a firearm" is from 1650s. Military meaning "impetuous attack upon an enemy" is from 1560s; as an order or signal to make such an attack, 1640s.
"one of a class of celestial bodies which move about the sun in great, elliptical orbits," c. 1200, from Old French comete (12c., Modern French comète), from Latin cometa, from Greek (aster) komētēs, literally "long-haired (star)," from komē "hair of the head" (compare koman "let the hair grow long"), which is of unknown origin. So called from resemblance of a comet's tail to streaming hair.
Visible only when near the sun, they were anciently regarded as omens of ruin, pestilence, and the overthrow of kingdoms. Halley in 1682 established the fact that many were periodic. Comet-wine (1833), that made in any year in which notable comets have been seen, was reputed to have a superior flavor (the original reference is to the Great Comet of 1811). Related: Cometary; cometic; cometical.
Their sudden appearance in the heavens, and the imposing and astonishing aspect which they present, have, even in recent times, inspired alarm and terror. One however—the splendid comet of 1811—escaped somewhat of the general odium; for as it was supposed to be an agent concerned in the remarkably beautiful autumn of that year, and was also associated with the abundant and superior yield of the continental vineyards, the wine of that season was called the comet wine. [The Leisure Hour, April 15, 1852]
Beware of wine named after noted vintages long passed, which is generally a clap-trap, the genuine wines being all before secured for years in private stocks. If "comet wine," or any other noted vintage, be offered, decline it, and nine times out of ten you escape an imposition. [Cyrus Redding, "Every Man His Own Butler," London, 1852]