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

Photo: Giulia Marchi/Bloomberg News Smaller carriers also prefer Chinese equipment. Stu Woo, WSJ, "U.S. Push Against Huawei Gear Hits an Obstacle: Carriers That Love It," 14 Feb. 2019 On the streets of Manhattan this morning, Diana played the part of very pampered pooch inside Goyard’s chic leather Voltigeur carrier. Zoe Ruffner, Vogue, "Is Priyanka Chopra’s Dog the Most Fashionable Pet in Hollywood?," 5 Feb. 2019 Nope, any subscriber on any carrier can make the switch to Visible. Michael Simon, PCWorld, "Verizon's $40 unlimited Visible service on Android FAQ: What is it and how to switch," 24 Jan. 2019 The White House is considering an executive order that would ban American wireless carriers from buying equipment from Chinese companies, according to a new report from Reuters. Russell Brandom, The Verge, "New Trump order may officially ban Huawei and ZTE from 5G rollout, per report," 27 Dec. 2018 Note that prices do not include taxes, fees, and carrier charges. Caitlin Morton, Condé Nast Traveler, "12 Days of Deals: U.S. to Cape Town for $549 Round-Trip," 24 Dec. 2018 Four months earlier, the USS Carl Vinson visited Vietnam, the first time an American carrier sip had been to that country since the Vietnam War. Lucas Tomlinson, Fox News, "North Korea remains 'significant' nuclear threat, Trump pick for top US general in South Korea says," 25 Sep. 2018 Do combine essential oils with a carrier oil first. Allison Young, Good Housekeeping, "The Best Essential Oils to Add to Your Bath Routine — And How to Do It Safely," 20 Sep. 2018 Huawei, which has risen to become the world’s number two smartphone maker, has been blocked from making inroads with US mobile carriers. Chris Welch, The Verge, "Washington Redskins reportedly backed out of Huawei Wi-Fi deal because of government concerns," 26 Dec. 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

19 Feb 2019

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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 \

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

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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

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