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

His family and friends will deeply miss him and pledge to carry on his legacy. J.k. Dineen,, "Billionaire philanthropist Kenneth Behring, who built Blackhawk, dead at 91," 27 June 2019 Her deep affection for Ethiopia was also carried on by her son Richard, an academic who wrote dozens of books about the country and founded the Institute of Ethiopian Studies at Addis Ababa University. Abdi Latif Dahir, Quartz Africa, "The British suffragette who was crowned an “honorary” Ethiopian," 25 June 2019 Aside from Jewish holidays off and kosher food, the campus has an eruv enclosure to allow observant Jews to carry on the Sabbath and multiple daily prayer services. Ben Harris,, "Medical school is putting a uniquely Jewish spin on doctor training," 11 June 2019 The feeling of struggling through life like the Anxious Face with Sweat emoji carried on well into adulthood. Isabelle O'carroll, Bon Appétit, "How Cooking Made Me See My ADHD as a Talent Instead of a Shame," 10 June 2019 McCall is also pleased that Polis and Greenberg will carry on implementing a statewide water plan approved during the John Hickenlooper administration and aimed at accommodating Colorado’s growing water needs. Judith Kohler, The Denver Post, "New Colorado ag commissioner sets priorities, starting with supporting the next generation of farmers," 4 June 2019 Poeppel and his co-authors carried on this tradition in a paper that appeared in Neuron last year. Quanta Magazine, "How Brain Waves Surf Sound Waves to Process Speech," 22 May 2018 Henry Danger will carry on as planned, Deadline notes, but the fate of the animated series The Adventures of Kid Danger is still unknown. Yohana Desta, HWD, "Nickelodeon Ends Partnership with iCarly Creator Dan Schneider," 27 Mar. 2018 Like it, hype her up in the comments, and carry on with your day because that excellent piece of content is in no way taking anything away from you. Lauren Alexis Fisher, Harper's BAZAAR, "I Can't Stop Comparing Myself to People on Instagram," 11 June 2019

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

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

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food or victuals

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