Definition of carry the can in English:

carry the can


  • Take responsibility for a mistake or misdeed.

    ‘if anyone makes a mistake, it's the senior person who has to carry the can’
    • ‘Traditionally, managers always carry the can for poor results on the field.’
    • ‘Someone will have to carry the can for this and it's not going to be the Prime Minister.’
    • ‘But why should the chief executive carry the can for all this?’
    • ‘Governments, in other words, receive little or no credit for getting things right on the economy, but are still liable to carry the can if things go wrong.’
    • ‘As finance director he carried the can for the losses.’
    • ‘It's unfair to the public representatives who are left carrying the can for it.’
    • ‘I carried the can entirely for what happened last season.’
    • ‘Members are at the sharp end, carrying the can for worse services and the botched tax credits scheme.’
    • ‘The reality is that at this level coaches carry the can when things go wrong.’
    • ‘A chairman has to make a decision to take the club forward and six months later if it's a bad decision he has to carry the can.’