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
1 : crusade
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 However, USDA Direct Loans also carry the most restrictions: They can’t be used to buy a home with an in-ground swimming pool, for example., "The $0 down payment mortgage you might be overlooking," 11 Apr. 2021 Although Old Navy does carry several varieties of girls’ pants with pockets, the company will keep Kamryn’s request in mind as additional styles are developed, said company spokeswoman Sandy Goldberg. Cathy Free, Anchorage Daily News, "First-grader wrote Old Navy asking for girls’ jeans to have real pockets. The letter went viral.," 11 Apr. 2021 The new developments in pharmaceutical-grade fish oil are really promising but require a prescription and can carry a hefty price. Bryony Gilbey,, "The health benefits of fish oil," 11 Apr. 2021 But most of us carry several identification and credit cards — fraud is a challenge, not a deal breaker. Los Angeles Times, "Column: No shoes, no shot, no service. Why vaccine ‘passports’ are a good idea," 11 Apr. 2021 People will have to wipe their shoes on sanitizing mats, wear masks, undergo a temperature check and carry their own blue-ink pen. Star Tribune, "Ecuador, Peru head to polls under strict virus measures," 10 Apr. 2021 So much of these ridiculous athletes being allowed to put their hand under the ball, with nary a carry-over call. Nick Canepa Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Gonzaga-UCLA was a beautifully played game, a rarity in today’s basketball world," 10 Apr. 2021 If the Dolphins miss out on Harris, Williams is the type of sturdy and reliable tailback who can carry a rushing game. Omar Kelly,, "Best-case scenarios for Dolphins at positions of need in the NFL draft," 10 Apr. 2021 Though in Michigan assault convictions can carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $5,000 fine, without complaining witnesses, convictions become less likely. Joseph Jaafari, Rolling Stone, "Grindr Murder: Could Kevin Bacon’s Death Have Been Prevented?," 9 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Sutton’s longest carry was his last one, a 52-yard romp to the Lincoln 2-yard line that set up Cathedral’s final touchdown with four minutes remaining. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Top-ranked Cathedral Catholic steamrolls past third-ranked Lincoln," 9 Apr. 2021 The two losses came in 10-inning games with the runner-on-second rule, a popular carry-over to many fans from the 2020 mini-season. Star Tribune, "Home opener illustrates how much baseball has changed since Twins' 1961 debut," 8 Apr. 2021 The overhead bins are large too, accommodating eight full-size carry-on bags per bin, enough for at least one full-size bag per customer, according to JetBlue. Alison Fox, Travel + Leisure, "JetBlue's Transatlantic Economy Class Is Complete With ‘Farm to In-flight’ Meals, Unlimited Wi-Fi, More," 6 Apr. 2021 Former Stanford running back Bryce Love was the last running back to be a Heisman finalist in 2017, and even his 2,000-yard, 19 touchdowns, 8.1 yards per carry season wasn’t enough to push him past former Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield. Stephen Wagner, Dallas News, "Why Texas running back Bijan Robinson will (or won’t) win the Heisman in 2021," 2 Apr. 2021 On their next drive, McKeller's first college carry went for seven yards. Akeem Glaspie, The Indianapolis Star, "Overlooked but undeterred, UIndy's Al McKeller on cusp of breaking school's rushing record," 31 Mar. 2021 Tennessee joins 18 other states that have approved some version of permitless carry. Natalie Allison, USA TODAY, "Tennessee Legislature passes bill to allow most adults to carry handguns without a permit," 31 Mar. 2021 Tailgating and food and beverage carry-ins are prohibited. Chris Foran, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Here are the bars and restaurants that will have Brewers game shuttles in 2021 to American Family Field," 23 Mar. 2021 Push-ups, sit-ups, and a 2-mile run were considered not holistic enough to meet the new requirements of war, so a six-exercise test was devised that incorporates exercises including a plank, dead lift, and sprint-drag-carry. Abraham Mahshie, Washington Examiner, "Army admits gender-neutral fitness tests are not possible," 22 Mar. 2021

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

14 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Carry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for carry



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

Nglish: Translation of carry for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of carry for Arabic Speakers

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