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.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She set it on the table along with 3 plates, knives, glasses, and a carton of milk.’
    • ‘She dropped the closed carton of milk as the scream erupted from the bathroom.’
    • ‘He pulled out a carton of milk and deliberately gulped it down.’
    • ‘Harmony walked back into the kitchen and found Mark putting a carton of milk into the fridge.’
    • ‘Many foodstuffs, including milk cartons, loaves of bread, and whole chickens have been taken from the unmonitored fridges.’
    • ‘He walked to the kitchen, still sleepy, and took a long drink form the 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.’
    • ‘Sand also drank her small carton of milk, which had gotten a bit warm since she had been handed it.’
    • ‘Who knew that a carton of milk could expand to three times its normal size?’
    • ‘Keep a box of cereal at your desk and pick up a carton of milk when you grab lunch.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He pulled out a half carton of milk and started to drink out of the container.’
    • ‘We have developed food packaging to a fine art with shrink-wrapped plastic everywhere, colourful drinks cartons and easy-open tins.’
    • ‘As I reached for a carton of milk, a man from behind tried to steal it from me.’
    • ‘When they were finished, only a few pieces of toast and a carton of milk remained.’
    • ‘If you bought a carton of milk that was spoiled, you might ignore it once or twice.’
    • ‘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


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