There are 2 main definitions of carry on in English:

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carry on 1

1Continue an activity or task: you can carry on with a sport as long as you feel comfortable she carries on watching the telly
More example sentences
  • With progression of the disease certain adaptations will probably have to be made in order to carry on with day-to-day activities.
  • We will carry on with the task of building a modern, efficient and collegial university - regardless of irrational rantings.
  • The vast majority of people rush inside and carry on with their day's activities.
continue, keep on, keep, keep at, go on, push on, press on, persist in, persevere in, not stop, maintain
informal stick with/at
1.1Continue to move in the same direction: I knew I was going the wrong way, but I just carried on
More example sentences
  • I can safely say that this black dog paid no attention me and simply carried on in the direction it was travelling without even looking at the car.
  • The bike stopped dead but he carried on moving - flying through the air.
  • On reaching the pedestrian area three dismounted and one carried on regardless making shoppers move out of her way.
2 informal Behave in a specified way: they carry on in a very adult fashion
More example sentences
  • Every time we see Arnold Schwarzenegger, he is still behaving, you could say carrying on, like a movie star.
  • Competitors had improved their performance, but the shop carried on as if it could still control the marketplace, according to one retailer.
  • It must get boring, it must; I've been carrying on like a drunken fool for more than 10 years now, & the miraculous things I expect myself to do are being drowned in a sea of self-pity.
2.1Behave in an overemotional way.
Example sentences
  • If this is how some people behave in public, Heaven only knows how they carry on in their own homes.
  • She's always laughing and carrying on and making a fool out of someone.
  • I really felt like shouting, ‘Don't encourage him - he will just do it more,’ but they did scream and he continued to carry on.
misbehave, behave badly, make mischief, get up to mischief, be mischievous, act up, cause trouble, cause a fuss/commotion, get/be up to no good, be bad, be naughty, clown about/around, fool about/around, mess about/around, act the clown, act the fool, act the goat, act foolishly
informal create
British informal muck about/around, play up
3 informal Be engaged in a love affair, typically one of which the speaker disapproves: she was carrying on with young Adam
More example sentences
  • I thought it was disrespectful to Madeline who would have disapproved of him carrying on with another woman and worse - not being ashamed of it.
  • He was banished from TV for life for carrying on with a woman not his wife.
  • She was also secure enough in her sexuality by the age of 13 to be carrying on with her schoolteacher's wife.
have an affair, commit adultery, philander, dally, be involved
informal play around, have a fling, mess about/around, play away
North American informal fool around
See parent entry: carry
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There are 2 main definitions of carry on in English:

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carry-on 2

Pronunciation: /ˈkariɒn/


[usually in singular] British informal
1A display of excitement or fuss over an unimportant matter: I never saw such a carry-on!
More example sentences
  • As a matter of publishing curiosity, did the legal carry-on do anything for the book's sales?
  • Some of the neighbours were upset about the carry-on and bringing strangers around the place at that hour of the night.
  • I thought he would be screaming the place down with all the carry-on in the Flower Hall, but he has slept through all the noise.
fuss, commotion, trouble, bother, upset, agitation, stir, excitement, ado, hurly-burly, palaver, rigmarole;
informal hoo-ha, ballyhoo, song and dance, performance, pantomime, hoopla, rumpus, monkey business, jiggery-pokery
British informal carrying-on, kerfuffle
1.1 (also carryings-on) Questionable behaviour, typically involving sexual impropriety: the sort of carry-on that goes on behind the chintz curtains of suburbia
More example sentences
  • I've read about a few kinky carryings-on in your column but have never seen what I am dealing with.
  • The study of stardust, lust and rust picks up the story when the cameras stop rolling and the carrying-on begins in the lives of lecherous actors.


(Of a bag or suitcase) suitable for taking on to an aircraft as handheld luggage.
Example sentences
  • I turned around and walked into the airport carrying my carry-on luggage and my suitcase.
  • And it can be attached to purses, laptops, carry-ons, and suitcases.
  • Seeing that they were indeed at Logan, he grabbed his carry-ons and departed the aircraft.

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Line breaks: carry-on

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