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
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 The activity marks a sharp turnaround from the spring, when U.S. ports reported double-digit declines in imports of containers, which carry most retail and manufacturing goods into the U.S. Jennifer Smith, WSJ, "West Coast Freight Networks ‘Bursting at the Seams’ With Surging Imports," 10 Sep. 2020 Biden’s more cautious approach Wednesday was aimed at those less convinced than Trump of the wisdom of returning to the classroom, particularly those living in the suburbs who carry outsize political influence. Author: Matt Viser, Josh Dawsey, Ashley Parker, Anchorage Daily News, "Biden blames school closures on Trump’s management," 3 Sep. 2020 Higgins in his post appeared to be responding to rumors that a group of Black activists who openly carry firearms and wear tactical gear — which is generally legal in Louisiana — might be coming to Lafayette to join the demonstrations. Bryn Stole | Staff Writer,, "'Dumb and reckless' Facebook post by Clay Higgins should be condemned, Cedric Richmond says," 2 Sep. 2020 One cause is related to the arteries, which carry blood to the brain. Claire Gillespie,, "President Trump Denies Having a Series of Mini Strokes—but What Is This, Anyway?," 2 Sep. 2020 That may have been optimistic: past relations have been bedeviled by the lender’s demands for unpopular cost-cutting measures, which would carry the risk of street protest. Jihen Laghmari,, "Tunisia’s President Welcomes New Government With Rant," 1 Sep. 2020 But many higher-end retailers who carry these masks are reticent to talk about it., "When Fashion Met Face Masks," 1 Sep. 2020 International flights, which carry higher change fees, are excluded. Dawn Gilbertson, USA TODAY, "The beginning of the end of airline change fees? United is ditching them for good – with a major catch," 30 Aug. 2020 SpaceX is working toward flying its first operational mission on Oct. 23, which would carry three NASA astronauts and one Japanese astronaut for a six-month stay on the station. Washington Post, "Boeing making slow progress toward fixing software problems that plagued its 2019 Starliner test," 28 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The offensive line helped Clemson average 4 yards per carry, with Etienne setting a new school record with his 18th 100-yard game, but allowed two sacks. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Clemson's rout of Wake Forest shows it's safe bet to reach College Football Playoff again," 13 Sep. 2020 Etienne averaged nearly 6 yards per carry and repeatedly picked up yards after initial contact by breaking tackles. Steve Reed, Star Tribune, "Lawrence, No. 1 Clemson dominate Wake Forest again, 37-13," 12 Sep. 2020 The key for Texas will be stopping redshirt freshman tailback Deion Hankins, who rushed for 113 yards (6.65 yards per carry) and two scores to open up last week’s game for UTEP. Nick Moyle,, "Longhorns first true test might be COVID-19, not UTEP," 11 Sep. 2020 Leading the way is senior running back and all-state candidate Cole Durbin as a senior who’s coming off a 1,813 rushing, 33 touchdown year and averaged 11.2 yards per carry. Dominique Yates, The Courier-Journal, "What to know about the Class 5A, District 4 Kentucky high school football teams," 9 Sep. 2020 His yards per carry increased from 4.56 to 4.9 from Week 10 on — a number buoyed by a handful of long runs. Jeff Nowak,, "Alvin Kamara at 100%: After 'damn good' year despite injury, why Saints RB is primed for more," 9 Sep. 2020 May amassed 494 yards and six touchdowns, averaging 6.0 yards per carry. Jack Marrion, Houston Chronicle, "Strake Jesuit sets football slate for 2020," 8 Sep. 2020 The senior running back looked to be in midseason form against Central Arkansas with 24 attempts for 127 yards and a touchdown while averaging 5.3 yards per carry. Evan Dudley, al, "5 things we learned from UAB’s 45-35 win over Central Arkansas," 6 Sep. 2020 Landon Winery offers wine purchased for carry-out and shipping. Brandi Addison, Dallas News, "Drink wine at these McKinney spots to celebrate National Red Wine Day," 28 Aug. 2020

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

16 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Carry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for carry


How to pronounce carry (audio)

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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