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

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of carry-on in a Sentence

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: Verb The races will carry on, but without any fans in the stands. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Queen Elizabeth Finds a Way to Take Part in Her Favorite Event, Royal Ascot, While Social Distancing," 16 June 2020 Instead of answering her, Luke ignored his wife of 13 years and tried to carry on with his recording. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "Luke Bryan’s Wife Caroline Wouldn’t Stop Trolling the Country Star on Instagram," 22 May 2020 So turn on Hallmark’s Christmas in July marathon, crank the A/C, and carry on the Christmas in July tradition to get into the holiday spirit a few months early. Emily Vanschmus, Better Homes & Gardens, "The Fascinating History Behind Christmas In July Celebrations," 10 July 2020 Biel lost her battle with the disease last year, leaving her husband Darryl to carry on her challenge. Richard Wolf, USA TODAY, "Supreme Court upholds autonomy of religious employers in employment discrimination cases," 9 July 2020 Biel lost her battle with the disease last year, leaving her husband Darryl to carry on her challenge. Arika Herron, The Indianapolis Star, "How SCOTUS ruling could affect cases of educators fired from Roncalli over same-sex marriages," 8 July 2020 The play portrays her as the eldest of three daughters who had no brothers to carry on the family name. Sarah Midkiff,, "All The Facts — & Myths — You Need To Know Before Watching Hamilton," 4 July 2020 And just as Casey Kasem's legendary voice is certain to carry on, his family is determined to keep fighting. Peter Van Sant, CBS News, "Casey Kasem's wife, children accused each other of "killing" radio icon," 4 July 2020 Willie Nelson’s annual Fourth of July Picnic will carry on at his Texas ranch outside Austin, but this year the concert portion will be virtual. John Seewer, Anchorage Daily News, "‘Huge bummer’: Fourth of July will test Americans’ discipline during pandemic," 3 July 2020

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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Time Traveler for carry-on

Time Traveler

The first known use of carry-on was in 1600

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Statistics for carry-on

Cite this Entry

“Carry-on.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Aug. 2020.

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How to pronounce carry on (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for carry-on

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with carry-on

Britannica English: Translation of carry-on for Arabic Speakers

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