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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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

The Linc states that diapers can also be carried in clear bags. Claire Wolters,, "Linc requires clear bags at tonight's Taylor Swift concert," 13 July 2018 As kegs are emptied at each of the four bars on the each neighborhood crawl, it's carried to the next bar with the same result. Kathy Flanigan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee breweries will celebrate all things beer during Drink Brew City Week," 13 July 2018 Nike has opened in Los Angeles the first of a several new stores that will use customer data to determine what styles will be carried. David Pan, USA TODAY, "Can you 'crowdsource' a store? Nike is about to find out," 12 July 2018 He was carried by balloon into the stratosphere, then parachuted nearly 136,000 feet -- breaking a world altitude record in 2014. CBS News, ""From impossible to inevitable": Developers give first look at new flying car," 12 July 2018 Airborne chemicals reacted with water and oxygen and then, carried by the wind, were deposited as acidic rain, snow, and fog. Lisa Rathke, The Christian Science Monitor, "Pollution regulations decrease acid rain, spur red spruce rebound," 11 July 2018 Bee viruses and other pathogens can be spread among hives, some carried by mites. Kevin Davenport, idahostatesman, "Why are these 250,000 bees hanging out on this sweet Downtown Boise rooftop?," 11 July 2018 As the professor watched, a plank was gently carried up into the laboratory. Paul Collins,, "What lies in the lab: The gruesome murder at Harvard that transfixed New England," 11 July 2018 And while fashion fads have come and gone since then, Ms. Miller has managed to become an industry powerhouse and create a global brand that is carried online, in high-end department stores and in mass-market homegood stores. WSJ, "Nicole Miller: You Always Have to Reinvent Yourself," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Among the 47 backs with at least 100 carries, Fournette ranked 37th in success rate. Michael Beller,, "Fantasy Football 2018 Busts: Will Leonard Fournette, Kareem Hunt Meet Expectations?," 3 July 2018 Taking baby formula or ground coffee on a plane?A new TSA rule limits powdery substances in carry-on bags. Morning Brief, The Seattle Times, "More on the Maryland newspaper shooting, and the Special Olympics USA Games come to town | Friday Morning Brief, June 29," 29 June 2018 Baby formula, for example, is allowed in carry-on bags. Bart Jansen, USA TODAY, "TSA: Friday airline passengers will near record with more than 2.6 million projected," 27 June 2018 As Travel + Leisure reports, the TSA will now limit the size of powders in carry-on bags of travelers entering the United States. Temi Adebowale, Town & Country, "The TSA Just Placed New Restrictions on Powders in Carry-On Luggage," 25 June 2018 Trey Smith and Malik Staples will take carries for the other team. Jake Lourim, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville football releases rosters for spring game Friday night," 11 Apr. 2018 This knife was discovered in a carry-on bag at Rochester (ROC). Dave Thomas, ajc, "TSA Instagram post: Cool it, Aragorn, you don't need your blade on the plane," 28 Mar. 2018 United passengers will still be able to bring small pets with them in carry-on carriers while the airline conducts its review, which should be finished in May, the report says. Jennifer Larino,, "United Airlines suspends pet transports in cargo holds: report," 20 Mar. 2018 Cleveland police were alerted to the incident after the operator of an airport X-ray machine saw a handgun in Ficklin's carry-on bag, according to a police report. Staff,, "Comment here on court and crime stories for Friday, Feb. 23, 2018," 23 Feb. 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

13 Oct 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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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 state of commotion or excitement

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