Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

carry on - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

phrasal verb
Word Forms
present tense
I/you/we/theycarry on
he/she/itcarries on
present participlecarrying on
past tensecarried on
past participlecarried on
  1. 1
    [intransitive/transitive] carry on something to continue doing something

    Carry on. You’re doing fine.

    He moved to London to carry on his work.

    For the moment we’ve been told to carry on as usual.

    carry on with:

    Just carry on with what you were doing.

    carry on doing something:

    If you carry on spending money like that, you’ll end up in debt.

    1. a.
    2. b.
      [transitive] to continue something that someone else started

      Her daughter intends to carry on her mother’s research.

  2. 2
    [intransitive] informal to behave in an angry, excited, or emotional way

    ‘It’s no good you carrying on, Mother,’ said Sally. ‘I’m not going to marry him.’

  3. 3
    [intransitive] [usually progressive] old-fashioned, showing disapproval if two people are carrying on, they are having a sexual relationship that you do not approve of
See also main entry: carry
quiz invitation
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Open Dictionary


a volume of articles, essays, etc., contributed by many authors in honor of a colleague, usually published on the occasion of their retirement, an important anniversary and the like

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play