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[kar-ee-er] /ˈkær i ər/
a person or thing that carries.
an employee of the post office who carries mail.
a person who delivers newspapers, magazines, etc., on a particular route.
  1. an individual or company, as a railroad or steamship line, engaged in transporting passengers or goods for profit.
  2. common carrier.
Insurance. a company that acts or functions as an underwriter or insurer.
a frame, usually of metal, attached to a vehicle for carrying skis, luggage, etc., as on top of an automobile or station wagon; rack.
Immunology. an individual harboring specific pathogenic organisms who, though often immune to the agent harbored, may transmit the disease to others.
  1. an individual possessing an unexpressed, recessive trait.
  2. the bearer of a defective gene.
Also called carrier wave. Radio. the wave whose amplitude, frequency, or phase is to be varied or modulated to transmit a signal.
Machinery. a mechanism by which something is carried or moved.
Chemistry. a catalytic agent that brings about a transfer of an element or group of atoms from one compound to another.
Also called charge carrier. Physics. any of the mobile electrons or holes in a metal or semiconductor that enable it to conduct electrical charge.
Physical Chemistry. a usually inactive substance that acts as a vehicle for an active substance.
Painting. base1 (def 15b).
Origin of carrier
Middle English word dating back to 1350-1400; See origin at carry, -er1
Related forms
intercarrier, noun
noncarrier, noun
supercarrier, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for carrier wave
Historical Examples
  • How do you get your carrier wave underground to those tunnels?

    Anything You Can Do ... Gordon Randall Garrett
  • And it must be close by, for the intensity of the carrier wave was tremendous.

  • Our projections are useless, as they can be driven only a very short distance upon our present carrier wave.

    Skylark Three Edward Elmer Smith
  • He imposed the audio system upon the inconceivably high frequency of their carrier wave and spoke in the Osnomian tongue.

    Skylark Three Edward Elmer Smith
  • Therefore the carrier wave must have come through our whole system of screens without so much as giving an alarm.

    Skylark Three Edward Elmer Smith
  • Orne heard the sudden hiss of the carrier wave in his neck transceiver, but there was no voice from the monitor.

    Operation Haystack Frank Patrick Herbert
  • Angrily Mitch keyed the carrier wave, screwed the button tightly down, and kicked on the four-hundred cycle modulator.

    Way of a Rebel Walter M. Miller
  • We must see what we are doing, so the light-rays must be heterodyned upon our carrier wave.

    Skylark Three Edward Elmer Smith
  • The radio was silent, with just the hum of the carrier wave as Krafft waited for him to continue.

    Planet of the Damned Harry Harrison
  • The EEG recording is simply fed into a gadget that modulates a carrier wave.

British Dictionary definitions for carrier wave

carrier wave

(radio) a wave of fixed amplitude and frequency that is modulated in amplitude, frequency, or phase in order to carry a signal in radio transmission, etc See amplitude modulation, frequency modulation


a person, thing, or organization employed to carry goods, passengers, etc
a mechanism by which something is carried or moved, such as a device for transmitting rotation from the faceplate of a lathe to the workpiece
(pathol) another name for vector (sense 3)
(pathol) a person or animal that, without having any symptoms of a disease, is capable of transmitting it to others
(physics) Also called charge carrier. an electron, ion, or hole that carries the charge in a conductor or semiconductor
short for carrier wave
  1. the inert solid on which a dyestuff is adsorbed in forming a lake
  2. a substance, such as kieselguhr or asbestos, used to support a catalyst
  3. an inactive substance containing a radioisotope used in radioactive tracing
  4. an inert gas used to transport the sample through a gas-chromatography column
  5. a catalyst that effects the transfer of an atom or group from one molecule to another
a breed of domestic fancy pigeon having a large walnut-shaped wattle over the beak; a distinct variety of pigeon from the homing or carrier pigeon See also carrier pigeon
a US name for roof rack


a member of an Athapaskan Native North American people of British Columbia
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for carrier wave



late 14c., agent noun from carry (v.). Meaning "person or animal that carries and disseminates infection without suffering obvious disease" is from 1899; genetic sense is 1933. As a short form of aircraft carrier it dates from 1917. Carrier pigeon is from 1640s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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carrier wave in Medicine

carrier car·ri·er (kār'ē-ər)

  1. A person or an animal that shows no symptoms of a disease but harbors the infectious agent of that disease and is capable of transmitting it to others.

  2. A compound capable of transferring a hydrogen atom from one compound to another.

  3. A quantity of naturally occurring element added to a minute amount of pure isotope, especially a radioactive one, to facilitate the chemical handling of the isotope.

  4. An individual that carries, but does not express, a gene for a particular recessive trait, yet when mated with another carrier, can produce offspring that do.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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carrier wave in Science
  1. A person, animal, or plant that serves as a host for a pathogen and can transmit it to others, but is immune to it. Mosquitoes are carriers of malaria.

  2. An organism that carries a gene for a trait but does not show the trait itself. Carriers can produce offspring that express the trait by mating with another carrier of the same gene. See more at recessive.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for carrier wave


Related Terms

jeep carrier

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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