car·ri·er | \ˈker-ē-ər, 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

Their daughter Peggy also went on to enjoy a fruitful career at the carrier, working as a Delta flight attendant from 1973 to 2008. Janine Puhak, Fox News, "Delta throws 102nd birthday party for pioneering flight attendant, WWII vet," 13 July 2018 Ely Portillo Cagle said the new gates — which will serve non-American Airlines carriers, including JetBlue, United Airlines, Southwest, Frontier and Air Canada — will start relieving congestion immediately. Ely Portillo, charlotteobserver, "Charlotte’s airport manages ‘tricky balance’ between low-cost hub and fancy new gates," 12 July 2018 The running backs have to become the main ball carriers, not just complements to the quarterback. Jake Lourim, The Courier-Journal, "U of L Insider: New stars must step up for Lamar Jackson-less Cards," 11 July 2018 And then there’s Urban Art Gallery, the five-year-old brainchild of Morris, a postal carrier, real estate investor, and art lover. Valerie Russ,, "Part safe space, part beacon, West Philly's Urban Art Gallery 'bridges the gap between violence and peace'," 11 July 2018 The carrier, which was tan and dark gray, also did not bear any identifiers or labels. Sophia Eppolito,, "Chihuahua left in dog carrier dies of heatstroke," 11 July 2018 This week the Trump administration declared China Mobile, the world’s largest carrier, a potential threat to national security. The Economist, "America’s tech giants vie with China’s in third countries," 5 July 2018 The Yuma to Phoenix route is operated by a regional carrier, just like 42 percent of the nation's air service. Kris Van Cleave, CBS News, "Regional airlines hurt by worsening pilot shortage: "It should be a national concern"," 4 July 2018 The airline, which started as a transatlantic competitor to à la carte carrier Norwegian, will now compete in Europe with Ryanair, which beat out IAG on a bid for existing Austrian budget airline Niki earlier this year. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "Surprise! Europe Is Getting a 'New' Budget Airline," 28 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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Phrases Related to carrier

carrier bag

people carrier

personnel carrier

Statistics for carrier

Last Updated

15 Oct 2018

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


car·ri·er | \ˈker-ē-ər \

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 \

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 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



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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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).


not any or not one

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