1650s, "freight loaded on a ship," from Spanish cargo "burden," from cargar "to load, impose taxes," from Late Latin carricare "to load a wagon or cart," from Latin carrus "wagon" (see car).
The French cognate yielded English charge (n.); also compare cark. South Pacific cargo cult is from 1949. Cargo pants attested from 1977, "loose-fitting casual pants with large pockets on the thighs;" named for the cargo pocket (by 1944), originally on military pants, so called for its carrying capacity.
updated on October 09, 2017