car·​ry-on | \ ˈker-ē-ˌȯn How to pronounce carry-on (audio) , ˈka-rē-, -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

carried on; carrying on; carries 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

Vogueworld Even in Marrakech, the Haim Sisters Are Masters at Matching Earlier today, Dior debuted its 2020 Resort collection in Marrakech, Morocco, carrying on a long tradition of hosting special collections in far-flung places around the world. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "Even in Marrakech, the Haim Sisters Are Masters at Matching," 29 Apr. 2019 Pola-Wilson said residents are doing their best to carry on, drawing upon the community's strength to carry them through the tough days ahead. Trevor Hughes, USA TODAY, "On Hawaii's Big Island: Near Volcano Kilauea life 'normal for none of us'; elsewhere business as usual," 7 May 2018 Waymo, General Motors, and Intel, who also like Arizona’s minimal rules, calm traffic, and good weather, can carry on their work. Alex Davies, WIRED, "Arizona Won't Be the Last Place to Micromanage Robocars," 27 Mar. 2018 Perry, speaking at CERAWeek by IHS Markit, the annual energy conference in Houston, said investors are focused on the debt companies are carrying on their balance sheets. L.m. Sixel, Houston Chronicle, "In energy, cash is king," 6 Mar. 2018 In the aftermath of the devastating tragedy, fellow country singers, including Dolly Parton and Vince Gill, offered up their own bands so Reba could carry on with her tour. Blair Donovan, Country Living, "Reba McEntire Honors Late Band Members Who Died in a Tragic Plane Crash 28 Years Ago," 18 Mar. 2019 No airplane has overhead bin space for each person to carry on a bag, Kress tells me. Aditi Shrikant, Vox, "Why airlines make you check your carry-on bags," 20 Dec. 2018 Second-year running back Aaron Jones — who exploded for 145 rushing yards, 9.7 yards per carry and two scores in a win over Miami last weekend — enters the game with an eye-opening 6.8 yards per carry on the season. Mike Vorel, The Seattle Times, "Seahawks need to solve struggling run defense to make a realistic playoff push," 13 Nov. 2018 The man reportedly didn’t realize the gun was missing and carried on shopping. Casey Quackenbush, Time, "Child Fires a Shot Inside an Indiana IKEA Store After Finding a Loaded Gun in a Sofa, Police Say," 26 June 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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English Language Learners Definition of carry-on

 (Entry 1 of 2)

US : a small piece of luggage that a passenger can carry onto an airplane
British, informal : 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

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


a strong desire or propensity

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