I always thought the word incharge/encharge existed but I noticed my spell check kept marking it as wrong.

"Who is encharge around here!?"
The secretary is encharge of taking notes.

I find this confusing because "in charge" is two words which as a phrase does not literally mean what it describes. Is it considered an idiom?

closed as off-topic by terdon, MetaEd, Kristina Lopez, Rory Alsop, TrevorD Aug 30 '13 at 16:46

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  • Please take the time to check a dictionary before posting questions. – terdon Aug 30 '13 at 11:23

In the sense you cite, it’s two words: you are in charge of something because you have the charge (task/responsibility) of doing it.

‘Encharge’ does exist, but it means something else. Apparently, according to the OED, it can be a noun meaning ‘injunction’ (though I’ve never heard of this—it is marked as obsolete, too).

If I see the word ‘encharge’, though, I will normally assume that it is a verb meaning ‘to give [someone] [something] as charge/task/responsibility’:

He was encharged with completing the project and bringing in the contract.

Even in this usage, I would not be very likely to use the word myself, but if I saw it, that is what I would assume it to be.


encharge is an existing word, but with another meaning than you intended.

The correct version is to be in charge.

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