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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Smut peddlers had always stumbled into fights over obscenity, but Flynt became an accidental champion of the First Amendment by carrying a fight over his Hustler magazine to the U.S. Supreme Court. Cincinnati Enquirer, "Read more from this Project," 13 July 2018 Baltimore Police have suspended a detective who has been the subject of costly lawsuits after a Harford County judge issued an order barring him from carrying a gun when his children's mother leveled allegations of domestic violence and child abuse. Ian Duncan,, "Baltimore Police detective suspended after judge orders him to give up gun in domestic violence case," 13 July 2018 Botha is just a stock villain, making threats and occasionally carrying them out. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "'Skyscraper:' Big, dumb and kind of fun, thanks to Dwayne Johnson and Neve Campbell," 12 July 2018 At their core, e-scooter companies promise to do what any mode of transit does: Get you from point A to point B, this time on a slim foot-deck that carries you at speeds up to 15 mph. Madeline Buxton,, "How Scooters Became A Go-To Instagram Prop — & The Next Transportation Revolution," 12 July 2018 Starting in 2020 and 2021, the locomotives will pull double-decker coaches that are capable of carrying more passengers than standard coaches. Joseph A. Gambardello,, "SEPTA's new Regional Rail locomotive makes debut," 11 July 2018 This is about taking the best parts of the past decade and carrying them on to 20. Maggie Menderski, The Courier-Journal, "Tim Faulkner Gallery prepares for August opening in Paristown Pointe," 11 July 2018 Colorado law prohibits anyone from carrying a gun under the influence of alcohol. Crimesider Staff, CBS News, "Judge: Dancing FBI agent, accused in backflip gunfire incident, can carry weapon again," 10 July 2018 Inhofe went viral in 2015 for carrying a snowball to the Senate floor to try to disprove global warming, according to the New Republic. Linley Sanders, Teen Vogue, "5 Things to Know About Acting EPA Chief Andrew Wheeler," 8 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The main difference is the carry-on weight allowance. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "International Basic Economy: How Every Major Airline Compares," 5 July 2018 Issues that came up there ranged from marijuana to the unlicensed carry of handguns. Anna M. Tinsley, star-telegram, "Hey, Texas Democrats: Gov. Abbott has a message for you," 19 June 2018 Consider, for example, that Jonathan Stewart scored six touchdowns on the ground last season, despite running for just 3.43 yards per carry. Michael Beller,, "Fantasy Football 2018: The Boring All-Star Team," 10 July 2018 Vince Workman was the Packers' main rusher, averaging 4.0 yards per carry. Pete Grathoff, kansascity, "Patrick Mahomes draws comparison, but how did Brett Favre do in first year as starter?," 9 July 2018 So where does that leave Abdullah, who led the Lions with running 552 yards and four touchdowns on the 3.3 yards per carry in 2017. Aja Gaines, Detroit Free Press, "Might Detroit Lions Ameer Abdullah be best served as kick returner?," 26 June 2018 In 2017, Ingram was among the best running backs in the NFL, ranking the top five in rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, yards per carry and runs of 20-plus yards. Josh Katzenstein,, "Mark Ingram planning to attend minicamp, Sean Payton says," 24 May 2018 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about carry

Statistics for carry

Last Updated

10 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for carry

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


obstinately defiant of authority

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!