Definition of carry on in US English:

carry on

phrasal verb

  • 1Continue an activity or task.

    ‘carry on with what you were doing’
    • ‘The vast majority of people rush inside and carry on with their day's activities.’
    • ‘We will carry on with the task of building a modern, efficient and collegial university - regardless of irrational rantings.’
    • ‘Mr Franks said: ‘I strongly urge your paper to carry on with your campaign to improve road junctions in that particular area.’’
    • ‘Social activists and volunteer organisers should carry on with their campaign against the perils of tobacco without any let up.’
    • ‘With progression of the disease certain adaptations will probably have to be made in order to carry on with day-to-day activities.’
    • ‘She is determined to carry on with her school work and has coped really well considering she just wants to be an ordinary teenager.’
    • ‘We had to go round to her house to carry on with the treatments.’
    • ‘‘Ultimately I would love to carry on with the hospital work but it's bordering on charity work really,’ he said.’
    • ‘We will carry on with the hard work this year and for as long as we can.’
    • ‘‘I don't know if its popularity will continue but I'd like to carry on with it as a hobby,’ he said.’
    continue, keep on, keep, keep at, go on, push on, press on, persist in, persevere in, not stop, maintain
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    1. 1.1 Continue to move in the same direction.
      ‘I knew I was going the wrong way, but I just carried on’
      • ‘A 31-year-old woman was on her way to work when a man walking in the opposite direction blocked her path and indecently assaulted her before casually carrying on.’
      • ‘The bike stopped dead but he carried on moving - flying through the air.’
      • ‘At sharp left-hand bend, carry straight on to grassy track.’
      • ‘On reaching the pedestrian area three dismounted and one carried on regardless making shoppers move out of her way.’
      • ‘He then nodded slightly and carried on in the direction that they were headed before - north-west.’
      • ‘Kirsten swore at the man for a drunken fool before carrying on again, from her bearing she obviously saw him as nothing more than an annoyance, and this time he knew that was not just an act.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Otherwise, carry straight on south, and get to grips with the Devil's Ridge.’
      • ‘Carry straight on, through Horwich, until you reach Adlington.’
      continue, keep on, keep, keep at, go on, push on, press on, persist in, persevere in, not stop, maintain
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  • 2Behave, especially speak, in an excited or bad-tempered way.

    ‘she carries on about television programming’
    • ‘They start behaving like a collection of mad, hydrophobic dogs, carrying on and salivating madly, and trying to bite anybody in sight from the centre-left.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    misbehave, behave badly, make mischief, get up to mischief, be mischievous, act up, cause trouble, cause a commotion, cause a fuss, be up to no good, get up to no good, be bad, be naughty, clown about, clown around, fool about, fool around, mess about, mess around, act the clown, act the fool, act the goat, act foolishly
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  • 3informal Be engaged in a love affair, typically one of which the speaker disapproves.

    ‘she was carrying on with young Adam’
    • ‘His wife is carrying on with the decorator, but he'll be oblivious for months yet.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The first act offers parallel adulteries or near-adulteries by two unacquainted couples, each husband coincidentally carrying on with the other's wife.’
    • ‘Two, at least, were having a merry time carrying on with their gentlemen in waiting, until they got caught.’
    • ‘His mother is carrying on with a wealthy older man, his father - although his heart may be in the right place - seems ineffectual, and he has a spoiled sister with a fascistic boyfriend.’
    • ‘Without telling me, he signed a new will about a month before he died leaving everything to a girlfriend he had apparently been carrying on with for several years.’
    • ‘She was also secure enough in her sexuality by the age of 13 to be carrying on with her schoolteacher's wife.’
    • ‘He was banished from TV for life for carrying on with a woman not his wife.’
    • ‘At one stage, according to official estimates he was carrying on with six of his colleagues.’
    • ‘The biggest shock, however, comes when he discovers that his daughter Alex is carrying on with Carter behind his back.’
    have an affair, commit adultery, philander, dally, be involved
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