car·​ry-on | \ ˈker-ē-ˌȯn How to pronounce carry-on (audio) , ˈka-rē-, -ˌän\

Definition of carry-on

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 British : carrying-on
2 : a piece of luggage suitable for being carried aboard an airplane by a passenger



Definition of carry-on (Entry 2 of 3)

: carried or suitable for being carried aboard carry-on baggage

carry on

carried on; carrying on; carries on

Definition of carry on (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

: to continue doing, pursuing, or operating carry on research carried on the business

intransitive verb

1 : to continue especially in spite of hindrance or discouragement chose to carry on despite the weather
2 : to behave or speak in a foolish, excited, or improper manner shocked at how he carries on

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Synonyms for carry-on

Synonyms: Noun

carryall, grip, handbag, holdall [chiefly British], portmanteau, suitcase, traveling bag, wallet

Synonyms: Verb

act out, act up, misbehave

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Examples of carry-on in a Sentence


a toddler crying and carrying on in the store she bravely carried on despite the loss of her husband

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

America would still have had enough manpower to carry on training the Afghan army and giving it air support. The Economist, "America will have to resume negotiations with the Taliban eventually," 14 Sep. 2019 Civil lawsuits related to the shooting carried on for three years. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Jeff Davis retiring after nearly 35 years with the El Cajon Police Department," 12 Sep. 2019 Behrouz Kamalvandi of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran made the remarks Saturday in a news conference carried on live television. NBC News, "Iran breaches nuclear deal again, warns 'not much time left' to save agreement," 7 Sep. 2019 Many of the infants were girls given up by parents who hoped instead for a male child to carry on the family name. Brandon Yu, The Atlantic, "One Child Nation Paints a Harrowing Picture of an Infamous Policy," 13 Aug. 2019 Between his five siblings and him, there were 11 grandchildren carrying on the Ryan name. Adrienne Brodeur, Glamour, "Our Children Have My Last Name. No, My Husband Doesn’t Mind," 13 Aug. 2019 Dotson was carrying on after his father, Charles Stephenson, died in December. Andy Greder, Twin Cities, "From secret to sensation: Loons midfielder Hassani Dotson rises to MLS rookie of year contention," 14 Sep. 2019 But starting Thursday, triple digit temperatures are back and carry on through the weekend, according to the Weather Service. Mike Cruz, azcentral, "Phoenix area weather to warm up for the weekend, but drop into the 90s again next week," 11 Sep. 2019 But of course, life does carry on and there is a new generation coming to age now who weren’t alive yet. Rebecca Angel Baer, Southern Living, "WATCH: Thousands of American Flags Honor the Fallen of 9/11 on the Grounds of the U.S. Naval Academy," 11 Sep. 2019

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


1890, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1967, in the meaning defined above


1600, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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Time Traveler for carry-on

The first known use of carry-on was in 1600

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English Language Learners Definition of carry-on

 (Entry 1 of 2)

US : a small piece of luggage that a passenger can carry onto an airplane
British, informal : a moment of excitement or silly behavior



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

: small enough to be carried onto an airplane by a passenger

More from Merriam-Webster on carry-on

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with carry-on

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for carry-on

Britannica English: Translation of carry-on for Arabic Speakers

Comments on carry-on

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


to be made up of

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