You have to charge the USB key

Angelya

Senior Member
Chinese
You have to charge the USB key.This is a sentence I come across from my oral book.It tells me here "charge" means "to pay", which confuses me. When it comes to "charge", I know there are a lot of meanings and one of those is "to ask for money from sb". But does it can mean "to pay"? And what is a USB key? Looking forward to your reply.
 
  • Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    A USB key is a device (usually for storage) that fits into a computer's USB port. Something like this:

    "Charge" probably means you need to load something onto it (which might involve payment, but that is probably not what "charge" refers to). Since USB ports themselves provide power, it is unlikely to mean charging a battery.

    What is this particular USB key used for? Usually, with ones like in the picture, you don't need to do anything with the USB key before use, except maybe format it, which your computer will do almost automatically (there will be a simple menu of options) when you plug it in, and formatting would never be called "charging".
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    Yes, a USB key normally should not need charging separately. This appears to be a sentence from a textbook and not a description of an actual key. Perhaps the writer used the word "charge" and USB key" together without thinking.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    You have to charge the USB key
    This "charge" means "fill its battery with electricity".

    As others point out, a USB key is a bad example-. It doesn't have a battery. It gets the electricity it needs from the USB port.

    But many other small devices do have batteries (cell phones, for example) and need to be "charged".
     

    Angelya

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    This "charge" means "fill its battery with electricity".

    As others point out, a USB key is a bad example-. It doesn't have a battery. It gets the electricity it needs from the USB port.

    But many other small devices do have batteries (cell phones, for example) and need to be "charged".
    Sorry, maybe I should show your the whole context:
    Do you want to open your e-bank?E-banking enables one to make online purchases.
    Is it free?
    Yeah. But you have to charge the USB key.
    Just open it.
    So here, "charge" must be related to money instead. But I wonder whether it's a fault to use "charge" as "to pay". After all, it generally means "to ask for money for sth".What do you think?
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Do you want to open your e-bank?E-banking enables one to make online purchases.
    Is it free?
    Yeah. But you have to charge the USB key.
    Just open it.
    Where did you find this? - What is the source? It does not make any sense to me. Is it a Chinese system?
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Some security systems such as two-factor authentication use a USB device which is sometimes called a "key" as part of an authentication system (in addition to entering your username and password, the device must be inserted into a USB port in order to log in). However, "charge" is still not the correct word.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    I still cannot work out whether "charge" means initialise (with security data, for instance), load with funds (like a prepayment card) or charge the battery. @Angelya suggests it is the second, and I recall seeing "charge" used with this meaning before, but I cannot remember where. I wonder if it could be prepayment electricity meters. I am sure there are better terms to use, but since I don't have any prepayment thingies, I am unfamiliar with the terminology. What terms are used for pay as you go Sim cards and Oyster cards?

    It sounds as if "USB Key" is also a poor name to give the device unless it is used as a hardware key as described by Myridon in post #10.

    Alternatively, perhaps we are all hopelessly behind the times in the west, and in a few years' time we'll be charging our USB keys and think nothing of it. If it is new technology, it may well need new meanings for words.
     

    Vovan

    Senior Member
    Russian
    But does it can mean "to pay"?
    <...>
    Do you want to open your e-bank? E-banking enables one to make online purchases.
    Is it free?
    Yeah. But you have to charge the USB key.
    Just open it.
    Probably, this meaning of the verb was used:
    charge
    <...>
    American English to pay for something with a credit card
    charge something on something

    I charged the shoes on Visa.
    ‘How would you like to pay?’ ‘I’ll charge it.’

    charge | meaning of charge in Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English | LDOCE
    I imagine the whole dialogue you copied from the textbook is about opening an account with a bank with someone's help. Most probably, somebody is helping their friend to request a new account online, and they are discussing whether access to e-banking is needed (=whether to 'tick' this option in the form).
    And what is a USB key?
    It's a USB stick the bank gives to the client in order to provide him/her with access to online banking. The stick contains some electronic certificates.
     
    Last edited:

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I would avoid the use of "USB key" - I had never heard of a USB key, and I like to think that I have heard of most things concerning computers.
    You may never heard of it but I have.;) See this (pcmag.com).

    I agree in any case with all of the above: I have never had to charge a USB flashdrive because a) it doesn't have a battery and b) I've never had one that needed to be topped up (with money - credit) as you would a SIM card for a mobile phone.
     

    Orble

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    So, Angelya, as everyone says this can’t mean “powering up” as the USB Key doesn’t have a battery but gets power from the device you plug it in to.

    This refers to a specialised USB key that may be (?) popular in your country but is rare or unknown amongst the contributors to this post. It is “charged” with money or credit by connection to a payment facility.

    It is common usage in Australia to say things like,
    Of a mobile phone: “Oh no, I’m out of credit. Hang on while I recharge.”
    Of a special debit card for overseas transactions: “It’s not working because there is no more money on it. I need to get to a computer to charge it with more euros.”​
     
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