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car·​ry-on ˈker-ē-ˌȯn How to pronounce carry-on (audio)
British : carrying-on
: a piece of luggage suitable for being carried aboard an airplane by a passenger


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

carry on

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carried on; carrying on; carries on

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

: to continue especially in spite of hindrance or discouragement
chose to carry on despite the weather
: to behave or speak in a foolish, excited, or improper manner
shocked at how he carries on

Examples of carry-on in a Sentence

Noun the airline allows two carry-ons per person Verb a toddler crying and carrying on in the store she bravely carried on despite the loss of her husband
Recent Examples on the Web
There are also some limitations on bringing these batteries in your carry-on. Anja Webb, Parents, 14 June 2024 As someone who likes to limit my wardrobe to a carry-on and ensure each piece plays multiple roles, these cover-up shorts from Vitamin A are definitely a winner. Lane Nieset, Travel + Leisure, 14 June 2024
The compact case is smaller than a credit card, so it can easily be slid into your carry-on, personal item, or even your pocket without adding bulk. Merrell Readman, Travel + Leisure, 5 Mar. 2023 On Friday morning at Norfolk International Airport in Virginia, a feline was discovered inside a passenger’s carry-on bag during a security screening. Forrest Brown, CNN, 3 Mar. 2023
Though not directly involved anymore, Rohlfs said it’s been exciting to see new faces come in and carry on the torch. Tess Kenny, Chicago Tribune, 15 June 2024 Generational influence that will carry on for many more lifetimes. James H. Williams, Orange County Register, 12 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for carry-on 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'carry-on.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1890, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1967, in the meaning defined above


1638, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of carry-on was in 1638

Dictionary Entries Near carry-on

Cite this Entry

“Carry-on.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

carry on

: conduct entry 2 sense 2, manage
carries on a business
: to continue especially in spite of difficulties
still carrying on
: to behave badly
embarrassed at the way you carried on

More from Merriam-Webster on carry-on

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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