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 run game struggled early, particularly Ulysses Bentley IV, who couldn’t get traction at the outset but finished with 4.6 yards per carry on 17 attempts. Sam Blum, Dallas News, "SMU scores 4 touchdowns in 7 minutes to break it open against Temple in 47-23 win," 7 Nov. 2020 Alabama has averaged a gain of 5.11 yards per carry on its 103 rushing attempts this season. Mark Inabinett |, al, "Georgia at Alabama by the numbers: 2 vs. 3 showdown," 17 Oct. 2020 The carry on fly balls has been astounding in this series. Scott Ostler,, "Bashin’ A’s give themselves a chance to change course of team’s recent history," 7 Oct. 2020 The creatives who carry on the legacies of design stars like Dorothy Draper, Sister Parish, and Tony Duquette would be inclined to agree. Mary Elizabeth Andriotis, House Beautiful, "How the Legacies of Iconic Interior Designers Are Being Preserved—and Adapted—Over Time," 31 Aug. 2020 In her mid-twenties during the trip, Karen was one of many Craighead children who would carry on her father and uncle’s passion for nature. National Geographic, "How 'Veep' went from afterthought to critical," 27 July 2020 Whether this is a temporary inconvenience or the start of a nuclear holocaust is impossible to guess, as the story is largely confined to the apartment, where the characters speculate on events by candlelight and haltingly carry on with the party. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: Into the Darkness With Don DeLillo," 16 Oct. 2020 In this case, mum’s the word, and carry on as usual. Hannah Herrera Greenspan,, "Here’s what to do if your friend confides in you about cheating on a partner," 14 Oct. 2020 Things kick off Monday night with Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and others joining Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Michael Stipe and more to remember and carry on Ruth Bader Ginsburg's legacy. Anna Chan, Billboard, "Here Are All the Livestreams & Virtual Concerts to Watch During the Coronavirus Crisis: Week of Oct. 12," 11 Oct. 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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Cite this Entry

“Carry-on.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Nov. 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

More from Merriam-Webster on carry-on

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for carry-on

Britannica English: Translation of carry-on for Arabic Speakers

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