[ kar-ee ]
See synonyms for carry on
verb (used with object),car·ried, car·ry·ing.
  1. to take or support from one place to another; convey; transport: He carried her for a mile in his arms. This elevator cannot carry more than ten people.

  2. to wear, hold, or have around one: He carries his knife in his pocket. He carries a cane.

  1. to contain or be capable of containing; hold: The suitcase will carry enough clothes for a week.

  2. to serve as an agency or medium for the transmission of: The wind carried the sound. He carried the message to me.

  3. to be the means of conveying or transporting (something or someone): The wind carried the balloon out of sight.

  4. to be pregnant with: His wife is carrying twins.

  5. to put ahead to a subsequent time, page, etc., or to a higher authority; continue or transfer: to carry a case to a higher court; to carry a footnote to a new page.

  6. to bear the weight, burden, etc., of; sustain: These piers once carried an arch.

  7. to take (a leading or guiding part), as in singing; bear or sustain (a part or melody).

  8. to hold (the body, head, etc.) in a certain manner: She carries her head high.

  9. to behave or comport (oneself): She carries herself with decorum.

  10. to take the initiative in (a contest): The Giants carried the game to the Browns.

  11. to secure the adoption of (a motion or bill).

  12. to get a plurality or majority of electoral votes in (a district).

  13. to extend or continue in a given direction or to a certain point: to carry the war into enemy territory.

  14. to bring, impart, hear, transmit, or communicate news, a message, etc.

  15. to lead or influence by emotional or intellectual appeal: The actor carried his audience with him.

  16. to bear the major burden of (a group, performance, etc.) by superior talent, determination, etc.: The star carried the whole play.

  17. to serve as a conduit for: This pipe carries water to the house.

  18. to have as an attribute, property, consequence, etc.; presume or entail: Violation carries a penalty of five years in prison.

  19. to support or give validity to (a related claim, argument, etc.): One decision carries another.

  20. Commerce.

    • to keep on hand or in stock.

    • to keep on the account books.

  21. to bear as a crop: This land will not carry corn.

  22. to sustain or support: Our grain supply will carry the cattle through the winter. This money will carry us for about a week.

  23. to be enrolled for or to undertake as an amount of work: New students are advised not to carry more than 16 credits.

  24. Golf. to advance beyond or go by (an object or expanse) with one stroke.

  25. Ice Hockey. to cause (a puck) to move forward along the ice and in one's control by a series of light, short taps with the stick.

  26. Hunting. to retain and pursue (a scent).

  27. (in addition) to transfer (a number) from one denomination to the succeeding one.

  28. to have as a maximum working pressure: This boiler carries 190 pounds per square inch.

verb (used without object),car·ried, car·ry·ing.
  1. to act as a bearer or conductor.

  2. to have or exert propelling force.

  1. to be transmitted, propelled, or sustained: My voice carries farther than his.

  2. (of a horse) to bear the head in a particular manner while in action: The horse carries well.

noun,plural car·ries.
  1. range, as of a gun.

  2. Golf. the distance a stroked ball travels.

  1. land that separates navigable waters and over which a canoe or boat must be carried; portage.

  2. a carrying.

Verb Phrases
  1. carry away,

    • to influence greatly or unreasonably, especially emotionally; excite; transport: The spectators were carried away by the appeal to their patriotism.

    • Nautical. (of the wind or sea) to dislodge or send overboard.

    • Nautical. (of a vessel) to lose (an object or objects) through breakage.

    • Nautical. (of a rope or chain) to break under strain.

  2. carry back, Accounting. to apply (an unused credit or operating loss) to the net income of a prior period in order to reduce the tax for that period.

  1. carry forward,

    • to make progress with.

    • Bookkeeping. to transfer (an amount) to the next page, column, or book.

    • Accounting. to apply (an unused credit or operating loss) to the net income of a succeeding period in order to reduce the tax for that period.

  2. carry off,

    • to win (a prize, honor, etc.).

    • to cause the death of: The Black Plague in the Middle Ages carried off more than one-fourth of the population of Europe.

  3. carry on,

    • to manage; conduct.

    • to continue without stopping: Rescue operations were carried on in spite of the storm.

    • to continue to live, work, etc., despite a setback or tragedy; persevere.

    • Informal. to behave in an agitated, foolish, or indiscreet manner.

    • to misbehave or be disruptive; act up.

    • Nautical. to proceed under excessive sail for the weather conditions.

  4. carry out,

    • to put into operation; execute: He doesn't have the funds to carry out his design.

    • to effect or accomplish; complete: They carried out their plan without incident.

  5. carry over,

    • to hold until a later time; postpone.

    • to be left; remain.

    • Bookkeeping. to transfer (an amount) to the next page, column, or book.

    • Accounting. to apply (an unused credit or operating loss) to the net income of a succeeding period in order to reduce the tax for that period.

    • to extend from one activity or time to another: He does not carry over his business ethics into his personal relationships.

  6. carry through,

    • to accomplish; complete.

    • to support or help through a difficult situation.

    • to continue or be prevalent in; persist: a theme that carried through all his writing.

Idioms about carry

  1. carry all before one, to be highly successful: In his academic and social life he carried all before him.

  2. carry a tune, to sing a melody accurately or on key.

  1. carry it off, Informal. to succeed in an action, endeavor, or scheme.

  2. carry the can. can2 (def. 16).

  3. carry the day, to win the contest or be triumphant; prevail. The Republicans carried the day.

  4. carry too far, to exceed the limits of; go to excess with: She is carrying her crusading too far.

Origin of carry

First recorded in 1275–1325; Middle English carien, from Anglo-French carier, from Late Latin carricāre “to load a wagon,” apparently variant of carrūcāre (unrecorded), derivative of Latin carrūca “traveling carriage,” from Celtic; cf. car1, charge

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.

Other words for carry

Other words from carry

  • car·ri·a·ble, car·ry·a·ble, adjective
  • half-carried, adjective
  • re·car·ry, verb (used with object), re·car·ried, re·car·ry·ing.
  • un·car·ried, adjective
  • un·der·car·ry, verb (used with object), un·der·car·ried, un·der·car·ry·ing.

Words that may be confused with carry

Other definitions for Carry (2 of 2)

[ kar-e ]

  1. a male given name, form of Carew.

  2. a female given name, form of Caroline. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use carry in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for carry


/ (ˈkærɪ) /

verb-ries, -rying or -ried (mainly tr)
  1. (also intr) to take or bear (something) from one place to another: to carry a baby in one's arms

  2. to transfer for consideration; take: he carried his complaints to her superior

  1. to have on one's person: he always carries a watch

  2. (also intr) to be transmitted or serve as a medium for transmitting: sound carries best over water

  3. to contain or be capable of containing: the jug carries water

  4. to bear or be able to bear the weight, pressure, or responsibility of: her efforts carry the whole production

  5. to have as an attribute or result: this crime carries a heavy penalty

  6. to bring or communicate: to carry news

  7. (also intr) to be pregnant with (young): she is carrying her third child

  8. to bear (the head, body, etc) in a specified manner: she carried her head high

  9. to conduct or bear (oneself) in a specified manner: she carried herself well in a difficult situation

  10. to continue or extend: the war was carried into enemy territory

  11. to cause to move or go: desire for riches carried him to the city

  12. to influence, esp by emotional appeal: his words carried the crowd

  13. to secure the passage of (a bill, motion, etc)

  14. to win (an election)

  15. to obtain victory for (a candidate or measure) in an election

  16. mainly US to win a plurality or majority of votes in (a district, legislative body, etc): the candidate carried 40 states

  17. to capture: our troops carried the town

  18. (of communications media) to include as the content: this newspaper carries no book reviews

  19. accounting to transfer (an item) to another account, esp to transfer to the following year's account instead of writing off against profit and loss: to carry a loss Also (esp US): carry over

  20. maths to transfer (a number) from one column of figures to the next, as from units to tens in multiplication and addition

  21. (of a shop, trader, etc) to keep in stock: to carry confectionery

  22. to support (a musical part or melody) against the other parts

  23. to sustain (livestock): this land will carry twelve ewes to the acre

  24. to maintain (livestock) in good health but without increasing their weight or obtaining any products from them

  25. (intr) (of a ball, projectile, etc) to travel through the air or reach a specified point: his first drive carried to the green

  26. sport, esp golf (of a ball) to travel beyond: the drive carried the trees

  27. (intr) (of a gun) to have a range as specified: this rifle carries for 1200 yards

  28. to retain contact with and pursue (a line of scent)

  29. (intr) (of ground) to be in such a condition that scent lies well upon it

  30. ice hockey to move (the puck) forwards, keeping it against the blade of the stick

  31. informal to imbibe (alcoholic drink) without showing ill effects

  32. (intr) slang to have drugs on one's person

  33. carry all before one to win unanimous support or approval for oneself

  34. carry a tune to be able to sing in tune

  35. carry the can informal to take the responsibility for some misdemeanour, etc (on behalf of)

  36. carry the day to win a contest or competition; succeed

nounplural -ries
  1. the act of carrying

  2. US and Canadian a portion of land over which a boat must be portaged

  1. the range of a firearm or its projectile

  2. the distance travelled by a ball, etc, esp (in golf) the distance from where the ball is struck to where it first touches the ground

Origin of 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

Other Idioms and Phrases with carry


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.