Definition of carton in US English:



  • A light box or container, typically one made of waxed cardboard or plastic in which drinks or foodstuffs are packaged.

    • ‘Sand also drank her small carton of milk, which had gotten a bit warm since she had been handed it.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He pulled out a half carton of milk and started to drink out of the container.’
    • ‘He walked to the kitchen, still sleepy, and took a long drink form the carton of milk.’
    • ‘Between them they collected hundreds of sacks of crisp packets, food cartons, drinks cans and other unsightly litter.’
    • ‘He pulled out a carton of milk and deliberately gulped it down.’
    • ‘Ask what their favourite sandwich is and give them a small carton of milk or a yogurt drink as a treat.’
    • ‘When they were finished, only a few pieces of toast and a carton of milk remained.’
    • ‘Keep a box of cereal at your desk and pick up a carton of milk when you grab lunch.’
    • ‘Once again, Joe sat alone at the back corner table with a carton of milk, a banana, and a cup of instant noodles.’
    • ‘As I reached for a carton of milk, a man from behind tried to steal it from me.’
    • ‘We have developed food packaging to a fine art with shrink-wrapped plastic everywhere, colourful drinks cartons and easy-open tins.’
    • ‘She dropped the closed carton of milk as the scream erupted from the bathroom.’
    • ‘Tricia opened the fridge and pulled out a carton of milk, then pulled a saucer out of a cabinet.’
    • ‘Many foodstuffs, including milk cartons, loaves of bread, and whole chickens have been taken from the unmonitored fridges.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Who knew that a carton of milk could expand to three times its normal size?’
    • ‘If you bought a carton of milk that was spoiled, you might ignore it once or twice.’
    • ‘Harmony walked back into the kitchen and found Mark putting a carton of milk into the fridge.’
    • ‘She set it on the table along with 3 plates, knives, glasses, and a carton of milk.’
    box, package, cardboard box, container, case, pack, packet, parcel
    View synonyms


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