car·​ry | \ ˈker-ē How to pronounce carry (audio) , ˈka-rē\
carried; carrying; carries

Definition of carry

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to move while supporting : transport her legs refused to carry her further— Ellen Glasgow
2 : to convey by direct communication carry tales about a friend
3 chiefly dialectal : conduct, escort
4 : to influence by mental or emotional appeal : sway She intended the play to carry audiences toward a sense of peace and understanding.
5 : to get possession or control of : capture carried off the prize
6 : to transfer from one place (such as a column) to another carry a number in adding
7 : to contain and direct the course of The drain carries sewage. Cables carry electricity to homes.
8a : to wear or have on one's person Police officers carry guns.
b : to bear upon or within one is carrying an unborn child
c : to harbor (a pathogen) within the body carry a virus
d : to possess a specified gene specifically : to possess one copy of a specified recessive gene and be capable of transmitting it to offspring parents carrying genes for cystic fibrosis
9a : to have or bear especially as a mark, attribute, or property carry a scar
b : imply, involve The crime carried a heavy penalty.
10 : to hold or comport (oneself, one's person, etc.) in a specified manner always carries herself with dignity and grace
11 : to sustain the weight or burden of Pillars carry an arch. is carrying a full course load
12 : to bear as a crop
13 : to sing with reasonable correctness of pitch carry a tune
14a : to keep in stock for sale The store carries a good selection of wines.
b : to provide sustenance for land carrying 10 head of cattle
c : to have or maintain on a list or record carry a person on a payroll carried six guards on the team
15 : to be chiefly or solely responsible for the success, effectiveness, or continuation of a player capable of carrying a team Her performance carried the play.
16 : to prolong or maintain in space, time, or degree carry a principle too far carry the wall above the eaves carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning
17a : to gain victory for especially : to secure the adoption or passage of The bill was carried in the Senate by a vote of 75–25.
b : to win a majority or plurality of votes in (something, such as a legislative body or a state) The bill carried the Senate by a vote of 75–25.
18 : to present for public use or consumption Newspapers carry weather reports. Channel nine will carry the game.
19a : to bear the charges of holding or having (stocks, merchandise, etc.) from one time to another
b : to keep on one's books as a debtor A merchant carries a customer.
20 : to hold to and follow after The dog could not carry the scent.
21 : to hoist and maintain (a sail) in use
22 : to pass over (something, such as a hazard) at a single stroke in golf carry a bunker
23 : to propel and control (a puck or ball) along a playing surface

intransitive verb

1 : to act as a bearer
2a : to reach or penetrate to a distance Voices carry well. Fly balls don't carry well in cold air.
b : to convey itself to a reader or audience
3 : to undergo or admit of carriage in a specified way a load that carries easily
4 of a hunting dog : to keep and follow the scent
5 : to win adoption The motion carried by a vote of 71–25.
6 informal : to have a gun on one's person : to carry a gun I did make one adjustment in the aftermath of Ned's attack. I hauled my H&K [handgun] and holster out of the trunk at the foot of my bed. If Ned was declaring war, I'd be carrying.— Sue Grafton
carry a torch or carry the torch
2 : to be in love especially without reciprocation : cherish a longing or devotion still carrying a torch for a former lover
carry the ball
: to perform or assume the chief role : bear the major portion of work or responsibility No one else is available to make the arrangements, so it's up to you to carry the ball.
carry the day
: win, prevail Truth and justice will carry the day.


plural carries

Definition of carry (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : carrying power especially : the range of a gun or projectile or of a struck or thrown ball
2a : portage
b : the act or method of carrying fireman's carry
c : the act of rushing with the ball in football averaged four yards per carry
3 : the position assumed by a color-bearer with the flag or guidon held in position for marching
4 : a quantity that is transferred in addition from one number place to the adjacent one of higher place value

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Synonyms for carry

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of carry in a Sentence

Verb I'll carry your luggage to your room. He was carrying his baby daughter in his arms. For two months, I carried the book around with me everywhere I went. The waitress carried away our empty dinner plates. The wind carried the smoke away from the campsite. These planes can carry up to 300 passengers. a ship carrying thousands of gallons of oil Oil is carried to the factory through these pipes. We installed gutters that will carry water away from the house. blood vessels that carry blood to the heart Noun He averaged four yards per carry this season.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But the result of this policy so far is that some people are still openly carrying guns into Walmart stores, leaving employees feeling vulnerable. Clare Duffy, CNN, "Asking customers not to bring guns into stores is one thing. Enforcing the policy is another," 17 Sep. 2019 The seriousness of the charges -- which carry fines for businesses and jail terms of up to 10 years and fines for individuals -- means defendants are required to attend. Yudith Ho, Washington Post, "What to Know as Goldman Sachs Faces Malaysia’s Legal System," 18 Sep. 2019 An explosion and subsequent fire reportedly occurred on Monday at a Russian biological research facility, which is one of two labs in the world that carries samples of the smallpox virus. Char Adams,, "Explosion Reported at Russian Lab Carrying Dangerous Viruses Like Ebola and Smallpox," 17 Sep. 2019 Van Deusen’s offense has two separate positions for players that often carry the ball. Tim Schwartz,, "Howard County football notebook: River Hill running wild; Oakland Mills bounces back," 17 Sep. 2019 The article was published in March by The College Fix, an outlet that carries conservative news and commentary reported by students at schools across the country. Elizabeth Hernandez, The Denver Post, "CU Denver blames article on conservative news site for “racist attacks and violent threats” against professor," 13 Sep. 2019 While the absence of Cubs games is notable, the biggest potential snag for fans, initially at least, is that not every cable or satellite company that now carries NBC Sports Chicago has a deal in place yet to offer its new iteration. Phil Rosenthal,, "NBC Sports Chicago will lose the Cubs on Oct. 1, but pick up some Bulls, Blackhawks and White Sox — but will you see it?," 12 Sep. 2019 That ability has attracted attention from Ivy League schools — Penn has an eye on Koste, who carries a 4.4 grade-point average — and Lofthouse thinks he’s good enough to play for Mountain West or Big Sky-type colleges. Daily Pilot, "High School Football Player of the Week: Behind Chad Koste, Newport Harbor is off to best start since 2010," 12 Sep. 2019 Eschenbach carries only 224 pounds on his 6-foot-6 frame. Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Badgers walk-on tight end Jack Eschenbach an intriguing project for UW coaches," 10 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Wisconsin scored 42 straight points to dominate at Ohio Stadium, 42-17, with Dayne ultimately posting 161 yards of rushing and 5.0 yards per carry. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Everything you forgot about Ron Dayne's magical 1999 run to the NCAA all-time rushing record," 7 Nov. 2019 Morgan has been helped by the three-pronged rushing attack of Rodney Smith, Mohamed Ibrahim and Shannon Brooks, but Penn State is allowing an FBS-best 1.99 yards per carry. Eric Olson,, "No. 5 Penn St., No. 13 Minnesota set for clash of unbeatens," 7 Nov. 2019 Brayden Keys spearheaded the Mead rushing attack by finishing with 177 yards and three touchdowns in the game, averaging 22.1 yards per carry. Hero Sports, The Denver Post, "Mead triumphs in strong showing over Denver North," 4 Nov. 2019 Even with the makeshift line, the Raiders allowed only one sack and ran 36 times for 171 yards (4.8 yards per carry). Matt Kawahara,, "Raiders’ Daryl Worley wows with one-handed interception," 3 Nov. 2019 Taylor ran for 284 yards and averaged more than 10 yards per carry in the win. oregonlive, "Oregon State Beavers at Arizona Wildcats football: Preview, matchups, notes, how to watch," 31 Oct. 2019 Even though Detroit rotated four running backs, Johnson led the group with 3.6 yards per carry. Tony Holm, USA TODAY, "Fantasy football sizzlers, fizzlers: Daniel Jones was great in Week 8," 28 Oct. 2019 Three reasons Notre Dame lost: SMASH MOUTH The Michigan offense that entered 91st in the country with 3.96 yards per carry was nowhere to be found. Mike Berardino, Indianapolis Star, "More road pain vs, top-20 foe for Brian Kelly, Notre Dame as Michigan pounds Irish," 27 Oct. 2019 After getting gashed by the Terrapins in blowout defeats in 2017 and ’18, Minnesota’s defense allowed only 3.4 yards per carry. Andy Greder, Twin Cities, "Gophers extend Big Ten West lead with 52-10 blowout over Maryland," 26 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'carry.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of carry


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1858, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for carry


Middle English carien, from Anglo-French carier to transport, from carre vehicle, from Latin carrus — more at car

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More Definitions for carry


How to pronounce carry (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of carry

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to move (something) while holding and supporting it
: to contain and direct the flow of (water, electricity, etc.)
: to have (something) with you or on your body



English Language Learners Definition of carry (Entry 2 of 2)

American football : the act of running with the ball


car·​ry | \ ˈker-ē How to pronounce carry (audio) \
carried; carrying

Kids Definition of carry

1 : to take or transfer from one place to another Can you carry a package? You might need to carry a number in addition.
2 : to contain and direct the course of The pipe is carrying water to the sea.
3 : to wear or have on or within the body carry money She is carrying an unborn child.
4 : to have as an element, quality, or part Does the camera carry a guarantee?
5 : to have for sale The market carries fresh fish.
6 : to go over or travel a distance His voice carried across the river.
7 : support entry 1 sense 1, bear The building has pillars that carry an arch.
8 : win entry 1 sense 3 He will carry the election.
9 : to hold or bear the body or some part of it Carry your head high.
10 : to sing in correct pitch Can you carry a tune?
11 : to present to the public The story was carried on the evening news. The paper carries weather reports.
carry away
: to cause strong feeling in The music carried her away.
carry on
1 : to behave in an improper or excited manner Ramona cried and carried on so … that they sent her home.— Barbara Robinson, Best Christmas Pageant
2 : manage sense 1 They carry on a business.
3 : to continue in spite of difficulties The scientists carried on even without their equipment.
carry out
: to put into action or effect
car·​ry | \ ˈkar-ē How to pronounce carry (audio) \
carried; carrying

Medical Definition of carry

1 : to harbor (a pathogen) within the body many are unaware they carry the virus and could be infecting others— Donald MacGillis
2 : to possess a specified gene women who carry genes that increase the risk of breast cancer— Liz Szabo specifically : to possess one copy of a specified recessive gene and be capable of transmitting it to offspring screening tests to see whether parents carry genes for cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs disease or other defects — Lisa Greene

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More from Merriam-Webster on carry

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for carry

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with carry

Spanish Central: Translation of carry

Nglish: Translation of carry for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of carry for Arabic Speakers

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