v. car·ried, car·ry·ing, car·ries
1. To hold or support while moving; bear: carried the baby in my arms; carrying a heavy backpack.
a. To move or take from one place to another; transport: a train carrying freight; a courier carrying messages.
b. Chiefly Southern US To escort or accompany.
3. To serve as a means for the conveyance of; transmit: pipes that carry waste water; a bridge that carries traffic between the two cities.
a. To communicate; pass on: The news was carried by word of mouth to every settlement.
b. To express or contain: harsh words that carried a threat of violence.
5. To have (something) on the surface or skin; bear: carries scars from acne.
6. To hold or be capable of holding: The tank carries 16 gallons when full.
a. To support (a weight or responsibility).
b. To support the weight or responsibility of: a beam that carries the floor; a student who carries a heavy course load.
8. To keep or have on one's person: stopped carrying credit cards.
9. To be pregnant with (offspring).
a. To hold and move (the body or a part of it) in a particular way: carried her head proudly.
b. To behave or conduct (oneself) in a specified manner.
11. To extend or continue in space, time, or degree: carried the line to the edge of the page; carry a joke too far.
a. To give impetus to; propel: The wind carried the ball over the fence.
b. To take further; advance: carry a cause.
13. To take or seize, especially by force; capture.
a. To be successful in; win: lost the game but carried the match.
b. To gain victory, support, or acceptance for: The motion was carried in a close vote.
c. To win a majority of the votes in: Roosevelt carried all but two states in the 1936 presidential election.
d. To gain the sympathy of; win over: The amateurs' enthusiasm carried the audience.
15. To include or keep on a list: carried a dozen workers on the payroll.
a. To have as an attribute or accompaniment: an appliance carrying a full-year guarantee.
b. To involve as a condition, consequence, or effect: The crime carried a five-year sentence.
17. Physics To possess (an intrinsic property, such as color charge) or convey (a force) that governs particle interactions.
18. To transfer from one place, as a column, page, or book, to another: carry a number in addition.
19. To keep in stock; offer for sale: a store that carries a full line of electronic equipment.
20. To keep in one's accounts as a debtor: carried the unemployed customer for 90 days.
a. To maintain or support (one that is weaker or less competent, for example).
b. To compensate for (a weaker member or partner) by one's performance.
22. To place before the public; print or broadcast: The morning papers carried the story. The press conference was carried by all networks.
23. To produce as a crop.
24. To provide forage for (livestock): land that carries sheep.
25. To sing (a melody, for example) on key: carry a tune.
26. Nautical To be equipped with (a mast or sail).
a. To cover (a distance) or advance beyond (a point or object) in one golf stroke.
b. To control and advance (a ball or puck).
c. Basketball To palm (the ball) in violation of the rules.
1. To act as a bearer: teach a dog to fetch and carry.
2. To be transmitted or conveyed: a voice that carries well.
3. To admit of being transported: Unbalanced loads do not carry easily.
4. To hold the neck and head in a certain way. Used of a horse.
5. To be accepted or approved: The proposal carried by a wide margin.
n. pl. car·riesPhrasal Verbs:
a. The act or process of carrying.
b. A portage, as between two navigable bodies of water.
c. Football An act of running with the ball on an offensive play from scrimmage: a carry of six yards.
a. The range of a gun or projectile.
b. The distance traveled by a hurled or struck ball.
c. Reach; projection: "a voice that had far more carry to it than at any time in the term thus far" (Jimmy Breslin).
To move or excite greatly: was carried away by desire.
Accounting To transfer (an entry) to the next column, page, or book, or to another account.
1. To cause the death of: was carried off by a fever.
2. To handle successfully: carried off the difficult situation with aplomb.
1. To conduct; maintain: carry on a thriving business.
2. To engage in: carry on a love affair.
3. To continue without halting; persevere: carry on in the face of disaster.
4. To behave in an excited, improper, or silly manner.
1. To put into practice or effect: carry out a new policy.
2. To follow or obey: carry out instructions.
3. To bring to a conclusion; accomplish: carried out the mission successfully.
a. To transfer (an account) to the next column, page, or book relating to the same account.
b. To retain (merchandise or other goods) for a subsequent, usually the next, season.
2. To deduct (an unused tax credit or a loss, for example) for taxable income of a subsequent period.
3. To persist to another time or situation: The confidence gained in remedial classes carried over into the children's regular school work.
1. To accomplish; complete: carry a project through despite difficulties.
2. To survive; persist: prejudices that have carried through over the centuries.
3. To enable to endure; sustain: a faith that carried them through the ordeal.
carry (someone's) water
To support someone, especially in an submissive or uncritical manner.
carry the ball Informal
To assume the leading role; do most of the work.
carry the day
To be victorious or successful.
[Middle English carien, from Old North French carier, from carre, cart; see CAR.]
Synonyms: carry, bear1, convey, transport
These verbs mean to move while holding or supporting something. Carry is the most general: The hikers were carrying backpacks and sleeping bags. The train carries baggage, mail, and passengers. Bear can denote the movement of heavy loads: The river barges bore grain and coal downriver. It can also suggest formality or ceremony: The sergeant at arms entered the chamber bearing the mace. Convey often implies continuous movement or flow: A moving belt conveyed the parts along the assembly line. Transport emphasizes movement of goods or people from one place to another: Refrigerated trucks were used to transport the milk from farm to market. Buses stood by to transport the evacuees to area shelters.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.