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

Keep scrolling for more

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

This program, launched in 2014 to honor the queen's service to the Commonwealth, is ending this year but Harry, 33, said that its legacy will carry on. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, "Duchess Meghan wears Prada! She and Prince Harry join queen at palace party," 26 June 2018 Richemont was even smart enough not to try to parachute in a new designer after the unexpected death of the founder last November, and to let the studio carry on his legacy — which also happens to be protected by a foundation the designer created. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, "Is the Independent Designer an Endangered Species?," 15 June 2018 People carried on building traditional Egyptian temples, and their Roman successors continued this. Elaina Zachos, National Geographic, "Greco-Roman Temple Unearthed in Egypt," 5 Apr. 2018 Ask questions: What kind of safety equipment is carried on board? Paul Brady, Condé Nast Traveler, "Helicopter Crash in NYC's East River Kills Five, Raises Safety Questions About Tourist Flights," 12 Mar. 2018 The first disciples, a group of first century Palestinian Jews, wrestled with how to carry on the Jesus movement. Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage pastors: Proposition 1 is irreconcilable with the Gospel," 11 Mar. 2018 Booker accused Trump of carrying on an undeclared war and risking future conflict with the Assad regime and its Russian and Iranian allies. Jonathan S. Tobin, National Review, "What Syria Teaches Us About ‘America First’," 25 Jan. 2018 Israel has largely stayed out of Syria’s civil war but has carried on a shadow war in Syria with Iran, which has taken advantage of the chaos to build a military infrastructure in Syria. New York Times, "Netanyahu Says Putin Agreed to Restrain Iran in Syria," 12 July 2018 Get our daily newsletter Actors would be able to star in 100 different films in the same year, and carry on full and productive careers decades after their deaths. The Economist, "What if AI made actors immortal?," 5 July 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about carry-on

Statistics for carry-on

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for carry-on

The first known use of carry-on was in 1600

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on carry-on

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


lying above or upon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
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!