I came across the following phrase, and I would like to know what is the meaning of "had in charge" in this context.

"The order of Saint Lazar patronized the leprotics, the order of Saint loan had in charge Jerusalem patients in 1099".

I looked for "had in charge in" on google and I didn't find this idiom but I found "charge in" in meaning of "responsible for".

  • The phrase is "had in charge", not "had in charge in". Have you looked up the word "charge" in a dictionary?
    – David42
    Aug 11, 2017 at 18:01
  • 1
    @DavidC: It might be a bit formal / Victorian, but The schoolmistress had in charge several unruly children [in recent years, whatever] is a tolerable resequencing of The schoolmistress had several unruly children in [her] charge. Aug 11, 2017 at 18:13
  • We find the prepositional complement before and after the direct object. Normally it comes after the direct object: They had several small children in tow but if the direct object is modified by a clause, the complement can come before it: They had in tow several small children who were licking large lollipops and gazing around with bewildered expressions.
    – TimR
    Aug 11, 2017 at 18:51
  • Source please! If you didn't write this yourself, could you please link to the source.
    – James K
    Aug 12, 2017 at 21:25

1 Answer 1


It's "abnormal" phrasing (not surprising, since it seems to be translated from a Russian original).

The comma doesn't help. Most writers would either start a new sentence there or introduce a suitable conjunction such as while. Whatever - just considering the second statement...

The order of Saint loan had in charge Jerusalem patients in 1099

...would more naturally be expressed as...

The order of Saint loan had Jerusalem patients in [their] charge in 1099

...or with more wholesale rephrasing...

In 1099, the order of Saint loan looked after patients from Jerusalem

  • It has been a common phrase since the 17th c. It isn't colloquial but it's certainly not "abnormal" and the Russian original had nothing to do with it.
    – TimR
    Aug 11, 2017 at 19:35
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    Perhaps this is yet another matter of opinion. I find it hard to believe any native speaker would ever have written OP's exact text if it hadn't arisen in the context of a translation. I don't actually know precisely how to parse it anyway. Does in 1099 apply to just the "Jerusalem patients", or the leprotics as well? Who has ever called lepers leprotics? Why use a comma instead of a period or a meaningful conjunction? That's all quite apart from the quirky sequence to have in charge [patients] (rather than have them in charge or be in charge of them). Aug 12, 2017 at 15:07

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