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 Mosquito season is upon us, and considering that these bloodsuckers are known to transmit diseases, people are concerned: Do mosquitoes carry the coronavirus? Claire Gillespie,, "Can Mosquitoes Carry the Coronavirus? Here's What Experts Say," 21 May 2020 Since mid-March, the president has watched as all those Good Numbers—numbers that would carry him to victory in November, that would shame the haters once and for all, that would secure his grip over American politics—turned into Bad Numbers. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Donald Trump’s Never-Ending War on Numbers," 20 May 2020 The three men carried her to Moroto hospital, roughly four miles away. Gabrielle Smith, CNN, "A transport ban in Uganda means women are trapped at home with their abusers," 15 May 2020 Outside of talking his way out of a potential college ending homecoming, Sellers says Morehouse taught him how to be a man in society, how to uplift his community, how to be respectful, carry himself with dignity, and be vulnerable when necessary. Tanya A. Christian, Essence, "HBCU Love: For Bakari Sellers’ Kids, The Only ‘School Choice’ Is An HBCU," 13 May 2020 Some Republicans are confident that as voters shift their attention from coronavirus mitigation to jobs, the economy, and the question of who is the most qualified to lead a recovery, Trump’s past performance will carry him past Biden. David M. Drucker, Washington Examiner, "Democrats ruining the economy by fighting to keep lockdowns, Republicans say," 12 May 2020 What works better is to lash the scabbard to your bugout bag or to carry it in the bag. David E. Petzal, Field & Stream, "Bushcraft Knives Vs. Survival Knives," 11 May 2020 Sub-Saharan Africa carries a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden. Uwagbale Edward-ekpu, Quartz Africa, "A Kenyan-British team of scientists has discovered a microbe to stop malaria transmission," 7 May 2020 Once the celebration kicked off, Donnie mentioned that typically someone’s supposed to carry in a cake, at which point Sami Gayle (aka Nicki Reagan) goes momentarily offscreen. Rebecca Norris, Country Living, "Donnie Wahlberg and the 'Blue Bloods' Cast Hosted the Sweetest Virtual Birthday Party for Bridget Moynahan," 29 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The sophomore ran for 790 yards and nine touchdowns while averaging over 10 yards per carry. Shelby Dermer,, "Recruiting: University of Wisconsin offers La Salle 2022 running back Gi'Bran Payne," 15 May 2020 Firm expects more than $400 million of carry for closed and pending sales. Sabrina Willmer,, "KKR Says Coronavirus Crisis Will Spur Dealmaking Opportunities," 10 May 2020 Breida is one of three running backs with 300 carries since 2017 to average at least 5 yards an attempt. Eric Branch,, "49ers trade Matt Breida to Dolphins, draft West Virginia offensive tackle," 25 Apr. 2020 Jackson also won Offensive MVP at the Pro Bowl in Orlando a week ago, throwing for 185 yards and two touchdowns with one interception, with two carries for 6 yards, in just three offensive drives. Safid Deen, The Courier-Journal, "Check out Lamar Jackson's full MVP acceptance speech," 2 Feb. 2020 The sophomore Richardson, who transferred to A&M from Central Florida, was third on the Aggies this season with 25 carries for 232 yards. Brent Zwerneman,, "Texas A&M loses more depth at running back," 16 Jan. 2020 Richardson, who transferred to A&M from Central Florida, was third on the Aggies this season with 25 carries for 232 yards. Brent Zwerneman, Houston Chronicle, "A&M running back Cordarrian Richardson to enter NCAA transfer portal," 14 Jan. 2020 The Colts ran all over the Jaguars in their first meeting of the season with 36 carries for 264 yards and three touchdowns. Ken Pomponio, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars odds, picks and best bets," 27 Dec. 2019 Gunn came in with 1,611 yards and 29 touchdowns but finished with 19 carries for 56 yards and two touchdowns. Schuyler Dixon, Twin Cities, "Minnesota State-Mankato’s last-minute drive fails, West Florida wins Division II title, 48-40," 21 Dec. 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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Time Traveler for carry

Time Traveler

The first known use of carry was in the 14th century

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Statistics for carry

Last Updated

25 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Carry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

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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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