I was trying to think of alternatives to 'charging' a phone or ipad or other electric device, but have come up short. Obviously, the word has multiple meanings but it seems there are few/no alternatives to this particular definition of it.

I've searched Thesaurus.com, Powerthesaurus.com, Oxford among others but was unable to find alternatives.

Any suggestions on alternative words for "Store electrical energy in (a battery or battery-operated device)"? (Oxford definition)

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    Why do you need an alternative word? Is there anything specific you're looking for in this alternate word (e.g. formality)?
    – Laurel
    Jan 7, 2019 at 7:46
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    Recharge, rejuice... I'd say no, you do have other options. But I guess the question is if "recharge" is different enough (or rejuice isn't too informal) to warrant an answer.
    – Laurel
    Jan 7, 2019 at 7:52
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    @Balaz2ta in many situations in the real world, people use "plug in" ... "Damn I need to plug in my phone again..." or "that new XYZ phone is great with the battery, it seems I never need to plug in" ... so, maybe it helps in some circumstances.
    – Fattie
    Jan 7, 2019 at 12:40
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    @Balaz2ta: If this is a technical/formal document, I suggest going with the repetition as it removes ambiguity by using a consistent definition. Only avoid repetitions if it's prose.
    – Flater
    Jan 7, 2019 at 12:40
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    @Flater: I'd say that in almost all contexts it's a mistake to think "I should avoid repeatedly using the same word", unless you know perfectly well that the first term you used doesn't exactly convey the sense you want (but is nevertheless "the best of a bad bunch"). In which case using various other "near synonyms" might help to collect together different connotations of le mot juste (which either doesn't exist, or you don't know anyway). I really don't understand why so many people on ELU (and ELL) seem to think randomly using alternatives is somehow "good style". It isn't. Jan 7, 2019 at 16:17

8 Answers 8


I recommend still using the word charge, but you can add some variety by changing the verb tense and possibly using the noun form. Also mixing up with recharge as suggested in a comment. A few possibilities:

  • To recharge your device, connect the USB cord
  • Ensure it has been charged for at least 5 minutes
  • Charging the device regularly will help
  • If the battery fails to hold a charge, contact us

This feels like enough variety to me for an instruction manual or technical document.

  • If it's not the first time, recharge also works. Jan 8, 2019 at 4:26

It's not perfect but in some cases you could use top up. This really assumes charging from an only partially drained state, but is used more broadly. For phones it may be a little confusing as "top up" can also apply to credit; any confusion can be minimised with a little context; some other batteries need topping up with water, but again context helps.

Some examples of real-world use:

After a comment I wondered if this was specific to British English, or at least uncommon in AMerican English. Google initially seemed to confirm that - but Google knows where I am and gives me results biased towards British sites. DuckDuckGo on the other hand gave me user manuals aimed at users both sides of the Atlantic.

  • a great suggestion! as I mention above "plug in" is sort of similar.
    – Fattie
    Jan 7, 2019 at 12:38
  • @cobaltduck - that's fascinating (for me, both versions are common)
    – Fattie
    Jan 7, 2019 at 12:41
  • @cobaltduck, here in the UK, "top off" is rare and when used means to fill back up to 100% (in anticipation of need). I wouldn't suggest it here. "Top up" just means to add a bit and is common.
    – Chris H
    Jan 7, 2019 at 12:44
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    I'm also in the Midwestern US (grew up in Michigan, now in a plains state by way of California) and I use both top up and top off. If I had to make a distinction, top up feels slightly more natural in this context. For me, top off is more often adding the finishing touch, rather than adding a bit more of the same to something that's not-quite-empty (though it can also be used that way). That is, you can top off your coffee with a shot of hazelnut or vodka or whipped cream, but you can only top up your coffee with more coffee.
    – 1006a
    Jan 7, 2019 at 20:16
  • Thanks @1006a. I thought I'd seen it in the US
    – Chris H
    Jan 7, 2019 at 20:27

If you're looking for something informal, you can use rejuice. You might not find this one in dictionaries, but its meaning is clear, since battery power is sometimes called "juice". Here are some examples of it in use:

That never happened, but I have missed countless events because I'm an idiot and almost never remember to rejuice my battery at night.
Laughing at My Nightmare

Frustrated, I searched through the store thinking they must sell (ungodly expensive) battery packs or something to rejuice my phone.
Electric Addition to WDW Tomorrowland makes Charging Phones a Breeze

I won't use a Mophie because I find it too heavy, so whenever I need to rejuice my phone on the run, this is my go-to portable charger.
Mother’s Day ‘Mom Thrive Guide’ With A Giveaway!


I would suggest 'energizing' since the act of 'charging' involves the input of energy. Electrical energy is used to initiate a chemical reaction within the battery.

  1. transitive. Physics. To increase the energy of (a body or system); (in later use) esp. to impart energy to (matter, esp. a particle); to cause (a particle) to move into a higher energy state.




Which implies that whatever was there before is now less than it was, and needs more of whatever it is to Replenish that whatever.


Though we generally think of refuel in terms of the liquid stuff you put it your car, it should equally apply to refueling a fire with wood, or a battery with chemical bonds.


Although it is used in reference to someone, how about using capacitate? You are making the electronic device capable again; and I know it is a long shot, but capacitors are used to store electrical energy.

  • Could you add a link to a dictionary definition of this term, to back up its relevancy for your answer? Jan 7, 2019 at 13:18

how about to load, Elektrische Ladung is the German equivalent of the physical Electric Charge Q.

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    As a reminder, Stack Exchange answers should be definitive. If this is genuinely a term in current usage, you should link examples or references to demonstrate that fact. I have never heard this usage of load before — if someone told me he was loading his phone, I would assume it was a reference to downloading content to consume, or possibly to stowing it for transport — but I am happy to be shown to be wrong.
    – choster
    Jan 8, 2019 at 0:24

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