For example:

"Me sitting here on the landing, too nervous to go downstairs?"
"And me charging about."

I can't find 'charge about' in dictionaries.

  • 2
    Please provide more context. It’s impossible to tell what the two people in your quote are talking about from just those two lines. Dec 2, 2018 at 10:56
  • Think of a bull in a china shop.
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 2, 2019 at 23:04

3 Answers 3


5.2 [with adverbial of direction] Move quickly and forcefully.
‘Henry charged up the staircase’

1 [British] Used to indicate movement within an area.
‘men were floundering about’
‘finding my way about’

Oxford Dictionaries


To charge about is difficult to find in registries. I find two usages in google books that edify its meaning:

Commercial Due Diligence

As already mentioned, 3 weeks (if you are lucky) does not give enough time to charge about in the hope that something will turn up. You simply have to have an idea of what the answers are going to he before you set off.


Words and Phrases Legally Defined

“The need for a free press is axiomatic, but the press cannot be allowed to charge about like a wild unbridled horse.

Thus, to charge about: to run amok like wild horses, to go forth with no plan but hope, frenzied or rushed activity.


The expression is almost certainly certainly related to the military charge in which soldiers, either on foot or horseback, advance as rapidly as possible towards an opposing position. The point being that, while charging, soldiers move quickly concentrating only on the object of the charge and to some extent on the mechanics of movement. Any collateral damage is ignored.

The metaphorical expression "charge about" is applied most commonly to unruly children who are, therefore, described as running around rapidly ignoring collateral damage to adults, furniture and household goods.

When applied to an adult it indicates a condition in which the adult is moving rapidly under a degree of stress, usually trying to do many things simultaneously or in rapid succession. This stress might be exterally generated or self induced but the resulting action is implied to be rapid and, to some extent, regardless of incidental consequences.

  • I've generally seen "charge about" used to describe an adult engaged in a rushed activity. Eg, "He charged about, throwing together the ingredients for the cake."
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 2, 2018 at 14:10

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