This is from Stalin's Daughter by Rosemary Sullivan:

Nadya left Svetlana's nanny strict instructions never to let her charge be idle. Svetlana remembered her nanny taking her to preschool for music lessons with twenty other children. Svetlana sang in a children's chorus and was soon taught to read and transcribe music and play the piano.

I think 'her' indicates Svetlana's nanny, if so what is the meaning of 'charge' here? Is it 'an assigned duty' or 'one that is entrusted to another's care'?


2 Answers 2


In this context, charge means:

a person or thing committed into the care of another.

So Svetlana is the person being taken care of by her nanny.

Source: Merriam-Webster (definition 3d)

  • Related words are "to be in charge of something" (your charge is someone or something you are in charge of) and "to be charged with something." The latter is used in two senses. The first "ordered to do something" or "given the task of doing something" e.g. "B Company was charged with taking Hill 77"; "Joe was charged with peeling the onions." The second is "held responsible for something," typically a crime: "John Doe was charged with burglary when he broke into the police station."
    – BobRodes
    Commented May 16, 2017 at 4:17

In this context, please refer to the following: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/charge -- refer to REFERENCE 3d - "a person or thing committed into the care of another played with her young charges at the day-care center."

In this example, Svetlana is the "charge." Nadya didn't want Svetlana (the "charge") to be be idle (lazy). Therefor, Nadya instructed Svetlana's nanny to take Svetlana to preschool to learn to transcribe music, as well as learn to play the piano.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .