Definition of carton in English:



  • 1A small, light box or container in which drinks or foodstuffs are packaged.

    ‘a carton of milk’
    • ‘Once again, Joe sat alone at the back corner table with a carton of milk, a banana, and a cup of instant noodles.’
    • ‘Keep a box of cereal at your desk and pick up a carton of milk when you grab lunch.’
    • ‘Harmony walked back into the kitchen and found Mark putting a carton of milk into the fridge.’
    • ‘When they were finished, only a few pieces of toast and a carton of milk remained.’
    • ‘As I reached for a carton of milk, a man from behind tried to steal it from me.’
    • ‘She set it on the table along with 3 plates, knives, glasses, and a carton of milk.’
    • ‘He pulled out a carton of milk and deliberately gulped it down.’
    • ‘He pulled out a half carton of milk and started to drink out of the container.’
    • ‘Many foodstuffs, including milk cartons, loaves of bread, and whole chickens have been taken from the unmonitored fridges.’
    • ‘If you bought a carton of milk that was spoiled, you might ignore it once or twice.’
    • ‘He walked to the kitchen, still sleepy, and took a long drink form the carton of milk.’
    • ‘He opened the fridge and took out a carton of milk, shaking it to see if any was left and chugging down what little milk there was.’
    • ‘We have developed food packaging to a fine art with shrink-wrapped plastic everywhere, colourful drinks cartons and easy-open tins.’
    • ‘Sand also drank her small carton of milk, which had gotten a bit warm since she had been handed it.’
    • ‘Ask what their favourite sandwich is and give them a small carton of milk or a yogurt drink as a treat.’
    • ‘Tricia opened the fridge and pulled out a carton of milk, then pulled a saucer out of a cabinet.’
    • ‘Who knew that a carton of milk could expand to three times its normal size?’
    • ‘A pensioner said he was physically sick after finding what he believes was a slug in a carton of milk he had already used for his cereal and morning cup of tea.’
    • ‘She dropped the closed carton of milk as the scream erupted from the bathroom.’
    • ‘Between them they collected hundreds of sacks of crisp packets, food cartons, drinks cans and other unsightly litter.’
    box, package, cardboard box, container, case, pack, packet, parcel
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1North American A large container of goods.
      • ‘It appears in newspapers and magazines and on bottles, envelopes, cardboard cartons, and other containers.’
      • ‘Users of recycling banks in the car park are asked to remove their empty cartons or bags when emptied.’
      • ‘Caroline arrived at his table with two carrier bags and a green carton, which she insisted on opening to show off a new cactus for her collection.’
      • ‘People using the recycling facility are asked to segregate plastic bottles, cartons, food tins, tetra packs and beverage cans.’
      • ‘Whilst walking the streets he came across the pick-up truck, which was loaded with cartons of cigarettes and bottles of whiskey.’
      • ‘Empty pesticide bags and cartons can be burned unless the law prohibits such, but you must keep away from the toxic smoke.’
      • ‘I grabbed another carton and the soap bucket the teachers use to clean the board with.’


Early 19th century: from French, from Italian cartone (see cartoon).