car·​ry | \ ˈker-ē How to pronounce carry (audio) , ˈka-rē \
carried; carrying; carries

Definition of carry

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to move while supporting : transport her legs refused to carry her further— Ellen Glasgow
2 : to convey by direct communication carry tales about a friend
3 chiefly dialectal : conduct, escort
4 : to influence by mental or emotional appeal : sway She intended the play to carry audiences toward a sense of peace and understanding.
5 : to get possession or control of : capture carried off the prize
6 : to transfer from one place (such as a column) to another carry a number in adding
7 : to contain and direct the course of The drain carries sewage. Cables carry electricity to homes.
8a : to wear or have on one's person Police officers carry guns.
b : to bear upon or within one is carrying an unborn child
c : to harbor (a pathogen) within the body carry a virus
d : to possess a specified gene specifically : to possess one copy of a specified recessive gene and be capable of transmitting it to offspring parents carrying genes for cystic fibrosis
9a : to have or bear especially as a mark, attribute, or property carry a scar
b : imply, involve The crime carried a heavy penalty.
10 : to hold or comport (oneself, one's person, etc.) in a specified manner always carries herself with dignity and grace
11 : to sustain the weight or burden of Pillars carry an arch. is carrying a full course load
12 : to bear as a crop
13 : to sing with reasonable correctness of pitch carry a tune
14a : to keep in stock for sale The store carries a good selection of wines.
b : to provide sustenance for land carrying 10 head of cattle
c : to have or maintain on a list or record carry a person on a payroll carried six guards on the team
15 : to be chiefly or solely responsible for the success, effectiveness, or continuation of a player capable of carrying a team Her performance carried the play.
16 : to prolong or maintain in space, time, or degree carry a principle too far carry the wall above the eaves carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning
17a : to gain victory for especially : to secure the adoption or passage of The bill was carried in the Senate by a vote of 75–25.
b : to win a majority or plurality of votes in (something, such as a legislative body or a state) The bill carried the Senate by a vote of 75–25.
18 : to present for public use or consumption Newspapers carry weather reports. Channel nine will carry the game.
19a : to bear the charges of holding or having (stocks, merchandise, etc.) from one time to another
b : to keep on one's books as a debtor A merchant carries a customer.
20 : to hold to and follow after The dog could not carry the scent.
21 : to hoist and maintain (a sail) in use
22 : to pass over (something, such as a hazard) at a single stroke in golf carry a bunker
23 : to propel and control (a puck or ball) along a playing surface

intransitive verb

1 : to act as a bearer
2a : to reach or penetrate to a distance Voices carry well. Fly balls don't carry well in cold air.
b : to convey itself to a reader or audience
3 : to undergo or admit of carriage in a specified way a load that carries easily
4 of a hunting dog : to keep and follow the scent
5 : to win adoption The motion carried by a vote of 71–25.
6 informal : to have a gun on one's person : to carry a gun I did make one adjustment in the aftermath of Ned's attack. I hauled my H&K [handgun] and holster out of the trunk at the foot of my bed. If Ned was declaring war, I'd be carrying.— Sue Grafton
carry a torch or carry the torch
1 : crusade
2 : to be in love especially without reciprocation : cherish a longing or devotion still carrying a torch for a former lover
carry the ball
: to perform or assume the chief role : bear the major portion of work or responsibility No one else is available to make the arrangements, so it's up to you to carry the ball.
carry the day
: win, prevail Truth and justice will carry the day.


plural carries

Definition of carry (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : carrying power especially : the range of a gun or projectile or of a struck or thrown ball
2a : portage
b : the act or method of carrying fireman's carry
c : the act of rushing with the ball in football averaged four yards per carry
3 : the position assumed by a color-bearer with the flag or guidon held in position for marching
4 : a quantity that is transferred in addition from one number place to the adjacent one of higher place value

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Synonyms for carry

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of carry in a Sentence

Verb I'll carry your luggage to your room. He was carrying his baby daughter in his arms. For two months, I carried the book around with me everywhere I went. The waitress carried away our empty dinner plates. The wind carried the smoke away from the campsite. These planes can carry up to 300 passengers. a ship carrying thousands of gallons of oil Oil is carried to the factory through these pipes. We installed gutters that will carry water away from the house. blood vessels that carry blood to the heart Noun He averaged four yards per carry this season.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Many young women have experienced episodes of self-doubt in school, work and beyond, which leave them feeling insecure about the sufficiency of their skills to carry them through new or challenging situations. NBC News, "3 science-backed techniques to help young women overcome self-doubt," 30 Mar. 2021 Keep this fresh bunch from UrbanStems on display in your dressing room, or carry it down the aisle for an enchanting, unique spray. Alexis Bennett, Vogue, "15 Something Blue Ideas for a Picture-Perfect Wedding Day," 29 Mar. 2021 The Ducks would play to their best individual strengths, the length and height of Sedona Prince and Nyara Sabally, outside shooting of Erin Boley and Taylor Mikesell and defense of Maddie Scherr, to carry them in the Big Dance. oregonlive, "Oregon women’s basketball has a postseason battle cry to match its newfound identity entering Sweet 16 with Louisville," 28 Mar. 2021 Because who’s going to carry it, if not the victim? Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, "The Secret Life of Sharon Stone," 28 Mar. 2021 Mission control directed the three astronauts to use their lunar lander, which had battery power, as a lifeboat to carry them home, although it was designed to hold only two astronauts. New York Times, "Glynn S. Lunney Dies at 84; Oversaw NASA Flights From Mission Control," 27 Mar. 2021 Cocktails will be available for carry-out through April 6, the New York State Liquor Authority said. Jake Dima, Washington Examiner, "Yang supports New York City takeout alcohol program," 26 Mar. 2021 These won’t add more than a few ounces to your carry-on. Lindsay Tigar, CNN Underscored, "Upgrade your home workout with this top-rated fitness gear," 25 Mar. 2021 Here, as his second three-pointer sunk — then his third, then his fourth — was a reminder of just how far that swagger could carry you. Ryan Kartje, Los Angeles Times, "Andy Enfield guides USC’s rise out of obscurity and into Sweet 16," 22 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Crushers are averaging 490 yards, 14.7 yards per carry and 31.6 yards per reception. Mitch Stephens, San Francisco Chronicle, "High school football: Success seems to follow California coach Calcagno," 29 Mar. 2021 The Colonels’ rushing attack churned out 350 yards on the ground at 7.8 yards per carry. Greg Luca, San Antonio Express-News, "Nicholls St. explodes on offense to hand UIW first spring loss," 27 Mar. 2021 Morrison, who is coming off a 1,000-yard, 16-touchdown season as a junior, averaged 12.5 yards per carry and broke off five runs of 20-plus yards on Saturday., "Anthony Morrison (312 yards), Bridgewater-Rayham run through New Bedford," 27 Mar. 2021 The former four-star prospect rushed for 834 yards and five touchdowns in 10 games in 2020, averaging 6.04 yards per carry while cementing himself as Auburn’s RB1 and taking home SEC Freshman of the Year honors. Tom Green |, al, "Tank Bigsby ‘hungry’ to be next great Auburn running back," 22 Mar. 2021 Senior running back Matt Brenner averaged 7 yards per carry, while senior linebacker Treacy Batesky (three sacks, two interceptions) is among the top returnees on defense. Bob Narang,, "Football preview: North Dakota recruit Malachi McNeal leads Warren’s hard-hitting defense into long-delayed season," 17 Mar. 2021 But Smith was restricted by injuries and Father Time, averaging 3.3 yards per carry during his two seasons (for $7.5 million) in the desert. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "NFL free agency 2021: The 21 worst free agent moves in league history," 17 Mar. 2021 Used as a workhorse in 2018 and 2019, Mack rushed for 1,999 yards over two seasons, averaged 4.5 yards per carry and scored 17 touchdowns. Joel A. Erickson, The Indianapolis Star, "4 Colts who played key roles in Indy but likely won't return once NFL free agency begins," 14 Mar. 2021 The Ravens allowed 29 carries for 193 yards (6.7 per carry) vs. Cleveland in that home loss. Mike Preston,, "Mike Preston: Ravens can’t afford to lose Williams, not yet | COMMENTARY," 13 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'carry.' 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


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1858, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for carry


Middle English carien, from Anglo-French carier to transport, from carre vehicle, from Latin carrus — more at car

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Time Traveler for carry

Time Traveler

The first known use of carry was in the 14th century

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Statistics for carry

Last Updated

2 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Carry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for carry



English Language Learners Definition of carry

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to move (something) while holding and supporting it
: to contain and direct the flow of (water, electricity, etc.)
: to have (something) with you or on your body



English Language Learners Definition of carry (Entry 2 of 2)

American football : the act of running with the ball


car·​ry | \ ˈker-ē How to pronounce carry (audio) \
carried; carrying

Kids Definition of carry

1 : to take or transfer from one place to another Can you carry a package? You might need to carry a number in addition.
2 : to contain and direct the course of The pipe is carrying water to the sea.
3 : to wear or have on or within the body carry money She is carrying an unborn child.
4 : to have as an element, quality, or part Does the camera carry a guarantee?
5 : to have for sale The market carries fresh fish.
6 : to go over or travel a distance His voice carried across the river.
7 : support entry 1 sense 1, bear The building has pillars that carry an arch.
8 : win entry 1 sense 3 He will carry the election.
9 : to hold or bear the body or some part of it Carry your head high.
10 : to sing in correct pitch Can you carry a tune?
11 : to present to the public The story was carried on the evening news. The paper carries weather reports.
carry away
: to cause strong feeling in The music carried her away.
carry on
1 : to behave in an improper or excited manner Ramona cried and carried on so … that they sent her home.— Barbara Robinson, Best Christmas Pageant
2 : manage sense 1 They carry on a business.
3 : to continue in spite of difficulties The scientists carried on even without their equipment.
carry out
: to put into action or effect
car·​ry | \ ˈkar-ē How to pronounce carry (audio) \
carried; carrying

Medical Definition of carry

1 : to harbor (a pathogen) within the body many are unaware they carry the virus and could be infecting others— Donald MacGillis
2 : to possess a specified gene women who carry genes that increase the risk of breast cancer— Liz Szabo specifically : to possess one copy of a specified recessive gene and be capable of transmitting it to offspring screening tests to see whether parents carry genes for cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs disease or other defects — Lisa Greene

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More from Merriam-Webster on carry

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for carry

Nglish: Translation of carry for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of carry for Arabic Speakers

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