car·​ri·​er | \ ˈker-ē-ər How to pronounce carrier (audio) , ˈka-rē-\

Definition of carrier

1 : one that carries : bearer, messenger
2a : an individual or organization engaged in transporting passengers or goods for hire
b : a transportation line carrying mail between post offices
c : a postal employee who delivers or collects mail
d : one that delivers newspapers
e : an entity (such as a hole or an electron) capable of carrying an electric charge
3a : a container for carrying
b : a device or machine that carries : conveyor
5a : a bearer and transmitter of a causative agent of an infectious disease especially : one who carries the causative agent of a disease systemically but is asymptomatic or immune to it
b : an individual (such as one heterozygous for a recessive trait) having a specified gene that is not expressed or only weakly expressed in its phenotype
6a : a usually inactive accessory substance : vehicle a carrier for a drug or an insecticide
b : a substance (such as a catalyst) by whose agency some element or group is transferred from one compound to another
7a : an electromagnetic wave or alternating current whose modulations are used as communications signals (as in radio, telephonic, or telegraphic transmissions)
b : a telecommunication company
8 : an organization acting as an insurer

Examples of carrier in a Sentence

I put the pet carrier in the car. The airline is the nation's largest carrier. Mosquitoes can be carriers of malaria.
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Recent Examples on the Web

HealthWorks has a partnership with major insurance carriers including Athem, Humana, Medical Mutual of Ohio and more, which allows them to bill screenings and flu shots as preventative claims. Jessica Levy,, "HealthWorks creates customized solutions to support well-being at work," 7 June 2019 Right now, support for RCS is limited to only a few carriers and even fewer devices, which means that most people can’t yet take advantage of it. Barbara Krasnoff, The Verge, "What is RCS and why you might want it," 12 Dec. 2018 Hawaiian Airlines has extended its waiver of rebooking fees for passengers flying with the carrier and its codeshare partners between Aug. 21 and Aug. 28. Janine Puhak, Fox News, "Hurricane Lane: Airlines cancel flights, waive change fees," 24 Aug. 2018 Twitter's a good option: The platform has long been a helpful forum for airline complaints, and carriers have entire customer support teams monitoring the service for passenger gripes and questions. Paul Brady, Condé Nast Traveler, "Etihad Airways Just Stepped Up Their Customer Service Game," 19 July 2018 The carrier also had 49,196 trained service animals, up from 39,926 in 2016. Bart Jansen, USA TODAY, "Smells, growls and disputes: AA urges DOT to allow only trained service dogs in airline cabins," 10 July 2018 Image Most carriers will also have instructions for changing out SIM cards from your phone model. New York Times, "How to Unlock Your Phone for Overseas Travel," 9 July 2018 In addition, with new technology measuring the time and angle of signals hitting their towers, wireless carriers already have the capability to pinpoint a phone’s location within 50 meters. Adam Liptak,, "Supreme Court says warrants generally needed to collect cellphone location data," 23 June 2018 Each carrier now has an appealing audience and loads of data to help place ads. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "How AT&T and Verizon Are Bulking Up to Take On Google and Facebook," 20 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'carrier.' 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 carrier

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for carrier

Last Updated

11 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for carrier

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

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More Definitions for carrier



English Language Learners Definition of carrier

: a container used to move something from one place to another
: a company that moves people or goods from one place to another
: a person or animal that can give a disease or a gene to others but is not affected by it


car·​ri·​er | \ ˈker-ē-ər How to pronounce carrier (audio) \

Kids Definition of carrier

1 : a person or thing that carries a mail carrier
2 : a person or business that transports passengers or goods or provides a certain service
3 : a person, animal, or plant that carries disease germs without showing symptoms and passes them on to others


car·​ri·​er | \ ˈkar-ē-ər How to pronounce carrier (audio) \

Medical Definition of carrier

1a : a person, animal, or plant that harbors and transmits the causative agent of an infectious disease especially : one who carries the causative agent systemically but is asymptomatic or immune to it a carrier of typhoid fever — compare reservoir sense 2, vector entry 1 sense 2
b : an individual possessing a specified gene and capable of transmitting it to offspring but not expressing or only weakly expressing its phenotype especially : one that is heterozygous for a recessive factor
2 : a usually inactive substance used in association with an active substance especially for aiding in the application of the active substance: as
a : a support for a catalyst
b : a vehicle serving especially as a diluent (as for an insecticide or a drug)
3 : a substance (as a catalyst) by whose agency some element or group is transferred from one compound to another

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Legal Definition of carrier

1 : an individual or entity engaged in transporting passengers or goods for hire by land, water, or air specifically : common carrier
2 : an insurer that assumes the risks of a policy that it issues to a policyholder

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More from Merriam-Webster on carrier

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with carrier

Spanish Central: Translation of carrier

Nglish: Translation of carrier for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of carrier for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about carrier

Comments on carrier

What made you want to look up carrier? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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