car·​ry | \ˈka-rē, ˈker-ē\
carried; carrying

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.

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

bear, cart, convey, ferry, haul, lug, pack, tote, transport

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Examples of carry in a Sentence


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


He averaged four yards per carry this season.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Iran’s Foreign Ministry countered Mr. Pompeo on Sunday, saying that the program was solely defensive, according to a statement carried by the official Islamic Republic News Agency. Asa Fitch, WSJ, "Iran Defends Missile Program After Pompeo Alleges Tehran Carried Out Test," 2 Dec. 2018 Bonus: The straps slip over the handle of your rollaboard carry-on, so there’s no need to lug it at your side. Lale Arikoglu, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Black Friday Luggage Deals of 2018," 23 Nov. 2018 Smila’s mayor said in comments carried by Ukrainian media that the city may be forced to announce a state of emergency if the dispute is not resolved. Yuras Karmanau, The Seattle Times, "Ukrainians protest as gas dispute leaves scores freezing," 13 Nov. 2018 Still, many have been able to cut through all the noise to create some of your favorite products, from Away carry-ons to Outdoor Voices leggings. Glamour, "Three Female Entrepreneurs Share Some Real Talk on Starting Your Own Business," 11 Nov. 2018 During the talks, Patrushev emphasized the importance of maintaining the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, the Security Council said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies. Fox News, "Treaty exits and extensions top Trump adviser's Moscow talks," 23 Oct. 2018 My interests have been carried along by developments of sciences that have been increasingly employed in areas like neuroscience to address some very traditional questions that philosophers have been interested in. Angela Chen, The Verge, "How History Gets Things Wrong," 5 Oct. 2018 The seasonality of Eugenie’s bouquet will differentiate it from those carried by the Duchess of Cambridge and Duchess of Sussex, whose weddings both took place in the spring. Tamara Abraham, Harper's BAZAAR, "Everything You Need to Know About Princess Eugenie's Wedding Flowers," 3 Oct. 2018 In fact, last year, Time reported on a study that found that cell phones carry 10 times more bacteria than toilet seats. Yikes. Brittney Morgan, House Beautiful, "This Device Sanitizes Your Phone While You Charge It," 26 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Seattle improved that number to 5.1, though the Seahawks are still tied for last in the NFL in yards per carry allowed. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "The Final Word: Bob Condotta breaks down what went right in the Seahawks’ thumping of the 49ers," 4 Dec. 2018 Running back Nick Chubb is averaging more than 7 yards per carry. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "Cleveland Browns: Win, Lose or Draw—the NFL’s Most Entertaining Team," 26 Oct. 2018 Percy Harvin — who for one night turned in the kind of performance that compelled Seattle to trade for him the year before with 41 yards on four carries, 59 yards on seven receptions and a 31-yard kickoff return. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "Introducing, the top 5 Thursday Night Football moments in the Pete Carroll era of Seahawks history," 14 Nov. 2018 But now, listings adjacent to the 606 carry, on average, a 22 percent premium, which normally means about $100,000 more than comparable homes. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Can high-profile park projects, catalysts for development, play nice with neighboring communities?," 17 July 2018 West started 13 games and finished the season with career highs in carries (193), rushing yards (774), rushing touchdowns (five), receptions (34) and receiving yards (236)., "Saints signing former Ravens running back Terrance West, report says," 13 June 2018 Ran for more than 1,600 yards, averaging nine yards a carry, during a breakout junior season. Richard Obert, azcentral, "Running wild: Top 10 RBs for 2018 Arizona high school football season," 11 June 2018 He’s also praised for his vision as runner averaging six yards a carry, ranked sixth in the SEC this past season., "Nine offensive fits for the Browns on Day 2 of the 2018 NFL Draft," 27 Apr. 2018 Ryan Nall, Oregon State Position: Running back Height: 6-foot-2 Weight: 232 pounds 2017 stats: 165 carries, 810 yards, 8 touchdowns; 27 catches, 240 yards, 2 touchdowns. Tyson Alger,, "2018 NFL Draft capsule: Oregon State Beavers' Ryan Nall," 26 Apr. 2018

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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Statistics for carry

Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for carry

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

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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 \
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 \
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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with carry

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for carry

Spanish Central: Translation of carry

Nglish: Translation of carry for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of carry for Arabic Speakers

Comments on carry

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


a knickknack or trinket

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