[ kar-ee-on, -awn ]
/ ˈkær iˌɒn, -ˌɔn /


of a size and shape suitable for being carried onto and stowed in the passenger compartment of an airplane: carry-on luggage.


a piece of carry-on luggage.

Origin of carry-on

First recorded in 1950–55; adj., noun use of verb phrase carry on

Definition for carry on (2 of 2)

Origin of carry

1275–1325; Middle English carien < Anglo-French carier < Late Latin carricāre, apparently variant of *carrūcāre, derivative of Latin carrūca traveling carriage < Celtic; see car1



caries carries

synonym study for carry

1. Carry, convey, transport, transmit imply taking or sending something from one place to another. Carry means to take by means of the hands, a vehicle, etc.: to carry a book; The boat carried a heavy load. Convey means to take by means of a nonhuman carrier: The wheat was conveyed to market by train. However, news, information, etc., can be conveyed by a human carrier: The secretary conveyed the message. Transport means to carry or convey goods, now usually by vehicle or vessel: to transport milk to customers. Transmit implies sending or transferring messages or hereditary tendencies: to transmit a telegram. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for carry on (1 of 2)

carry on

verb (adverb)

(intr) to continue or perseverewe must carry on in spite of our difficulties
(tr) to manage or conductto carry on a business
(intr often foll by with) informal to have an affair
(intr) informal to cause a fuss or commotion

noun carry-on

informal, mainly British a fuss or commotion

adjective carry-on

(of luggage) to be taken inside an aircraft by hand personally by a passenger

British Dictionary definitions for carry on (2 of 2)

/ (ˈkærɪ) /

verb -ries, -rying or -ried (mainly tr)

noun plural -ries

Word Origin for carry

C14 carien, from Old Northern French carier to move by vehicle, from car, from Latin carrum transport wagon; see car
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

Idioms and Phrases with carry on (1 of 2)

carry on


Maintain, conduct, as in The villagers carried on a thriving trade, or They carried on a torrid love affair. [c. 1600]


Continue or progress, persevere, as in I'm sure you can carry on without me. [Mid-1600s]


Behave in an excited, improper, or silly manner, as in They laughed and sang and carried on rather noisily. [Early 1800s]


Flirt, engage in an illicit love affair, as in She accused her friend of carrying on with her husband. [Early 1900s]

Idioms and Phrases with carry on (2 of 2)


In addition to the idioms beginning with carry

  • carry a torch for
  • carry a tune
  • carry away
  • carry coals to Newcastle
  • carry forward
  • carrying charge
  • carry off
  • carry on
  • carry out
  • carry over
  • carry the ball
  • carry the can
  • carry the day
  • carry the torch
  • carry through
  • carry too far
  • carry weight

also see:

  • fetch and carry
  • (carry) off someone's feet
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.