carry on

See also: carryon and carry-on



  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈkæɹi ˈɑn/
  • (file)


carry on (third-person singular simple present carries on, present participle carrying on, simple past and past participle carried on)

  1. (idiomatic, intransitive) To continue or proceed as before.
    I'll be gone for a few days, but I hope you will carry on in my absence.
  2. (idiomatic, transitive) To continue, maintain or pursue (:an activity or enterprise)
    Carry on the good work.
    It is difficult to carry on a conversation with so many distractions.
    to carry on commerce in a market
    • 1897, Mersey, Charles Clive Bigham, A ride through western Asia, London, New York: Macmillan, →OCLC, page 18:
      He carried on a long conversation with the dragoman in Turkish, the upshot of which was that he would give me a "buyuruldu" or special order to go to Sivas, and would provide an escort if the British Consul would send a written guarantee that I was a bona fide traveller.
    • 1960 December, Voyageur, “The Mountain Railways of the Bernese Oberland”, in Trains Illustrated, page 755:
      The Schynige Platte Railway carries on its traffic with no more than four electric locomotives (with one steam locomotive in reserve).
    • 2023 March 8, Howard Johnston, “Was Marples the real railway wrecker?”, in RAIL, number 978, page 52:
      In his favour, Beeching declared that he supported carrying on with the existing modernisation projects, but that the rest of the business needed root and branch reform.
  3. (idiomatic, intransitive) To talk continuously about, often in an excessively excited way
    He’s always carrying on about his stupid aquarium.
  4. (idiomatic, intransitive) To act or behave; especially to misbehave so as to attract attention.
    I really wish you wouldn't carry on like that in public!
  5. (idiomatic, intransitive) To have an illicit sexual or flirtatious relationship.
    I thought he was my friend, but all the time he was carrying on with my wife!
  6. (idiomatic, transitive) To take baggage or luggage onto an airplane, rather than check it.
    You may only carry on items that are smaller than a certain size.


Derived termsEdit