car·​ry-on | \ˈka-rē-ˌȯn, ˈker-ē-, -ˌän\

Definition of carry-on 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1 British : carrying-on

2 : a piece of luggage suitable for being carried aboard an airplane by a passenger



Definition of carry-on (Entry 2 of 3)

: carried or suitable for being carried aboard carry-on baggage

carry on


Definition of carry on (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

: to continue doing, pursuing, or operating carry on research carried on the business

intransitive verb

1 : to continue especially in spite of hindrance or discouragement chose to carry on despite the weather

2 : to behave or speak in a foolish, excited, or improper manner shocked at how he carries on

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Synonyms for carry-on

Synonyms: Noun

carryall, grip, handbag, holdall [chiefly British], portmanteau, suitcase, traveling bag, wallet

Synonyms: Verb

act out, act up, misbehave

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Examples of carry-on in a Sentence


a toddler crying and carrying on in the store she bravely carried on despite the loss of her husband

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

There the gas is superchilled and turned into a liquid that can be carried on a ship to Japan or other markets. Mayumi Negishi, WSJ, "Natural Gas From $40 Billion Project Begins Shipping in Landmark for Japan," 23 Oct. 2018 Meghan and Harry both laughed about it immediately after, then carried on talking to the women. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "Watch Prince Harry Fix Meghan's Hair at Her Charity Cookbook Launch," 20 Sep. 2018 After all, leaving a legacy is a big part of having a child, of hoping that you are carried on in some small way by a being that shares your DNA. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "Hulu’s The First is everything wrong with modern TV drama. Reader, I loved it.," 14 Sep. 2018 It had been carried on board rescue helicopters flown by the 238th General Support Aviation Brigade. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Oak Creek-based Eder Flag repairs treasured American flag damaged in Afghanistan," 13 July 2018 Games will be carried on NBA TV and ESPN's variety of channels. Jeff Greer, The Courier-Journal, "Schedule: Former Louisville basketball players in NBA summer leagues," 29 June 2018 My parents passed away a long time ago, but those values are carried on in me every day. Mark Konkol, Chicago Reader, "J.B. Pritzker talks race politics," 14 Feb. 2018 The games would be carried on ABC with ESPN talent and branding. A.j. Perez, USA TODAY, "Report: ABC could be home for NFL's 'Thursday Night Football'," 15 Jan. 2018 To carry on in the spring of 2017 as if what was happening was anything approaching normalcy required a determined suspension of critical faculties. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "Jeff Flake’s Brett Kavanaugh delay, and difficult history with Trump, explained," 28 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'carry-on.' 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-on


1890, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1967, in the meaning defined above


1600, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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Statistics for carry-on

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Time Traveler for carry-on

The first known use of carry-on was in 1600

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More Definitions for carry-on



English Language Learners Definition of carry-on

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a small piece of luggage that a passenger can carry onto an airplane

: a moment of excitement or silly behavior



English Language Learners Definition of carry-on (Entry 2 of 2)

: small enough to be carried onto an airplane by a passenger

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More from Merriam-Webster on carry-on

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with carry-on

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for carry-on

Britannica English: Translation of carry-on for Arabic Speakers

Comments on carry-on

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having a pattern of small flowers

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