Green’s Dictionary of Slang

carry v.

[ext. uses of SE]

1. (US drugs) of a supply of drugs, to suffice an addict for a given period of time.

[US]D. Maurer ‘Lang. of the Und. Narcotic Addict’ Pt 2 in Lang. Und. (1981) 100/2: To carry. For a ration of narcotics to support an addict for a specified length of time without any discomfort from diminishing euphoria.

2. (orig. US) to carry money, to be in the money.

[US]Ersine Und. and Prison Sl.
[US]J. Thompson Getaway in Four Novels (1983) 101: He wasn’t carryin’ very heavy when he skipped.
[UK]L. Dunne Goodbye to The Hill (1966) 63: He fancied a good shant so, as he said, if you wanted to have a drink with a fella and he wasn’t carrying it didn’t matter.
[Ire]P. Boyle At Night All Cats are Grey 60: Now when Tailor is carrying he will buy with the best of them. And sure enough he produced a sheaf of crinklers.

3. (orig. US) to carry a weapon, e.g. a gun or knife; thus carrying n., being in possession of a gun.

[US]J. Spenser Limey 218: She was a gun moll [...] She carried for Hicky the Killer.
[US]E. Hunter ‘See Him Die’ in Jungle Kids (1967) 102: Figuring who was gonna be the first to die, in case Django was carrying.
[US]E. De Roo Go, Man, Go! 139: Does he carry a heater?
[US]G.V. Higgins Friends of Eddie Coyle 23: They give him a big fat three for carrying without a permit.
[US]G.V. Higgins Cogan’s Trade (1975) 172: I even heard, you’re carrying.
[US]R. Campbell In La-La Land We Trust (1999) 143: Turn around and lift your tail. All right, you ain’t carryin’. You’re no fool. We’re hard on Private Johnny Hams what come aroun’ totin’ iron.
[Aus](con. 1964-65) B. Thorpe Sex and Thugs and Rock ’n’ Roll 82: ‘Jackie Marsh is back and carrying’.
[UK]K. Sampson Awaydays 6: I keep telling him to retract the blade when he’s carrying — it causes havoc with the lining of your jacket.
[US]C. Cook Robbers (2001) 63: If your friend out there’s carrying and has any notions you might better go on out and have a little talk.
[US]W. Ellis Crooked Little Vein 67: I’m a cop. I can spot a guy carrying from thirty feet.
[UK]D. O’Donnell Locked Ward (2013) 338: You better not come anywhere near me [...] I’m carrying and I’ll use it.
[UK]Eve. Standard 4 July 8/4: ‘Some people carry [a knife] cos they feel a need to protect themselves ’.
[US]S.M. Jones August Snow [ebook] He was carrying. I deprived him of his Sig Sauer.

4. (orig. US drugs) to carry drugs; often as carrying, being in possession of drugs.

[US]Berrey & Van den Bark Amer. Thes. Sl.
[US](con. 1948) G. Mandel Flee the Angry Strangers 253: I don’ carry none.
[US]R.R. Lingeman Drugs from A to Z (1970) 59: carry To have drugs on the person, as in the drug user’s admonition ‘never carry when you can stash’. [...] carrying Possessing narcotics on the person, as in ‘are you carrying?’.
[UK]Oz 15 35: Anyone found pushing, carrying or fixing will be turned over to the police.
[US]E. Tidyman Shaft 105: Everybody was carrying.
[US]A. Hoffman Property Of (1978) 153: I’m carrying the last of it [...] and I got to make a connection.
[US]W.D. Myers Scorpions 43: ‘Randy say they can carry for the Spanish guys over near Ninety-sixth Street. They can make that money easy.’.
[UK]N. Griffiths Sheepshagger 166: I’m just after a little toot, likes, y’know, just to chill. Yewer not carrying are yew?
[UK]J. Meades Empty Wigs (t/s) 334: Bands are obvious targets. So no one carries. Customs know that. They know that we know. That didn’t stop them hassling us.

5. (Aus. prison) to smuggle or hold contraband.

[Aus]Tupper & Wortley Aus. Prison Sl. Gloss. 🌐 Carry. To smuggle or hold contraband, ie messages, money, tobacco, drugs, etc.

6. (US campus) to insult, to mock.

[US]C. Eble (ed.) UNC-CH Campus Sl. Fall 2: CARRY — tease, jokingly insult: ‘You’re carrying me because I’m short’ .

SE in slang uses

In compounds

carry-away (n.)

(US und.) a robbery wherein the safe is first removed from the premises before being opened.

J. Webb Badge (2006) 302: CARRY AWAY Where safe is carried away before being worked on.
carry-knave (n.) [Nares, Glossary (1822), misintepreting the second part of the term and extrapolating backwards for the first, suggests a def. of ‘cheap prostitute’; Williams dismisses this]

a coach.

[UK]J. Taylor Works (1869) n.p.: Our hyreling hackney carry knaves, and hurry-whores.
carry-on (n.)

see separate entry.

carry-over (n.) [SE carry-over, something remaining or transferred from one period to the next]

a hangover that lingers on.

[US]H. Blossom Checkers 50: Did you ever get a jag on sherry? Well [...] it gives you a ‘beaut.’ Arthur had a ‘carry-over’ that lasted him for about three days.
[UK]J.B. Priestly Three Men in New Suits 133: You wake up with a sort of carry-over, you’re still rather gay and cock-eyed. [...] Strictly speaking, I’m still a bit tight.

In phrases

carry... (v.)

see also under relevant n.

carry a bone (v.) [proverb: a dog that will bring you a bone will carry one away]

(US) to gossip, to spread rumours.

[US]Broad Ax (Salt Lake City, UT) 23 July 12/5: A tattler is to be despised and dreaded by friend and foe [...] that old proverb is a true one. ‘A dog that will carry a bone will bring one’.
[US]R.W. Brown ‘Word-List From Western Indiana’ in DN III:viii 573: carry a bone, v. To pack a tale about.
carry a broom at the masthead (v.) (also carry the broom up) [the naval tradition of hoisting a broom to signify that a ship has been sold]

to work as a prostitute.

[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 17: ‘She carries the broom up’ at the mast-head, [is Long Shore] signifies ‘to be sold or hired,’ and is applied to females as well as ships, which are likewise spoken of in the feminine. [Ibid.] 81: Flesh-market any walk, or run for females who carry the broom up, is the flesh-market ? so and so, as of the Piazzas, Cheapside, Strand, &c.
carry a cub (v.) [from card j. carry a cub, ‘a dealer’s method of cheating at Georgia Skin by concealing the three cards that match his own at the bottom of a deck, so they will not be dealt to other players’ (S. Calt, Barrelhouse Words, 2009)]

(US black) to trick, to deceive.

[Z.N. Hurston De Turkey and de Law in Coll. Plays (2008) 276: Lonnie didn't even know Nunkie was carrying the cub to him. Lonnie can't skin worth a cent].
Blind Willie Reynolds ‘Married Man’s Blues’ 🎵 Let me tell you men what these married women will do, / She will get your money, she will carry a cub to you.
carry a flag (v.)

(US tramp) to travel under an assumed name or alias.

[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 47: Carrying a Flag. – Travelling under an assumed name or with an alias. In railroad parlance, a train or engine is carrying a flag when signals are displayed to indicate that the train is not on the schedule, or that it is travelling in sections, and therefore not merely as it appears.
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 793: carrying a flag – Traveling under an assumed name or alias.
carry a stick (v.) [the image of a vagrant with a pack and stick]

(US black) to use or share someone else’s hotel room room and make no contribution to the rent.

[US]R.D. Pharr S.R.O. (1998) 181: Anybody that don’t have a room of theeir own and bunks in with soemone else for free is carrying a stick, just like a tramp.
carry corn (v.) [Yorks. dial.]

to behave well when successful, i.e. to be a modest winner, to restrain oneself despite gaining power or money.

[UK]Sl. Dict. 109: Carry Corn to bear success well and equally. It is said of a man who breaks down under a sudden access of wealth ? as successful horse-racing men and unexpected legatees often do ? or who becomes affected and intolerant, that ‘he doesn’t carry corn well.’.
[Aus]Sydney Sl. Dict. (2 edn) 2: Carry Corn - To bear success well and equally.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
carry milk-pails (v.) [the image of a milkmaid with her yoke and two pails]

of a man, to walk with a woman on each arm.

[UK]A. Mayhew Paved with Gold 112: Presently a gentleman, ‘carrying milk-pails,’ as the boys called it — that is, with a lady on each arm, advanced up the colonnade.
carry no coals (v.) [reverse of SE phr. carry coals, to do dirty or degrading work, thus to accept insults]

to show oneself proof against swindling or insults.

[UK]Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet I i: Gregory, o’ my word, we’ll not carry coals.
H. Shirley Martyr’d Souldier II i: I can carry anything but Blowes, Coles, my Drink, and – the tongue of a Scould.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: He’ll carry no Coals, not be Pissed upon, or Imposed upon, nor bear a Trick, or take an Affront, or tamely pass by any ill Treatment.
[UK]New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
carry on (v.)

see separate entry.

carry one’s own weight (v.) (US)

1. to take responsibility for one’s actions.

[US]C. Cooper Jr Scene (1996) 252: I can pay my dues [...] I can carry my own weight.
[US]E. Bunker Animal Factory 182: I ain’t leanin’ on nobody. I carry my own weight.
[US]N. Walker Cherry 271: He was the type to get people into fucked-up situations and hope that they’d perform miracles for him. Rider didn’t ever carry his own weight.

2. to have influence.

[US]C. Himes Crazy Kill 118: Johnny Perry carries his weight in this town.
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 232: carry weight 1. Possess influence.
carry someone in one’s heart (v.)

(S.Afr.) to bear a grudge against someone in the hope of getting eventual revenge.

[SA]Cape Times 23 May n.p.: If the ‘sky blue’, languishing in prison, considers that he has been framed by one of his previous cronies (variously known as chummies, pallie blues, or beans) he will ‘carry him in his heart’ until he can . . . get his revenge [DSUE].
carry the drum (v.) [? the image of a drummer beating slowly, as in a funeral procession]

1. (Aus.) to work slowly (in a shearing shed).

[Aus]Baker Aus. Lang. 64: To carry the drum means to work slowly or lazily.

2. see drum n.5 (1)

carry the mail (v.) [the reputation of the US postal service for overcoming any object in order to deliver the mail]

1. (US) to go fast.

[US] ‘Jargon of the Und.’ in DN V 441: Carry the mail, To run at top speed.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).

2. (US) to take responsibility for a difficult task.

[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.
[US]B. Dempski et al. Dalko 27: In spite of Barrows’s passing and Dalkowski’s ability to ‘carry the mail,’ New Britain lost.

3. (Aus.) to stand a round of drinks [the ‘delivery’ of the drinks].

[Aus]Stephens & O’Brien Materials for a Dict. of Aus. Sl. [unpub. ms.] 39: CARRYING THE MAIL: Northern rivers of New South Wales – standing treat or shouting for drinks. The man who pays is said to carry the mail.
[Aus]Baker Aus. Lang.
[Aus]N. Pulliam I Travelled a Lonely Land (1957) 231/2: carry the mail – to shout, that is, to stand drinks.
carry the stockwhip (v.)

(Aus., Northern Terr.) of a wife, to dominate her husband.

[UK]E. Hill Territory 443: Carry the stockwhip, to: To be the boss, often applied to dominating wives.
carry weight (v.) (also carry a heavy load) [one is bowed beneath one’s cares]

1. to be depressed.

[US]D. Runyon ‘For a Pal’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 569: Yid and Benny are carrying no weight in this respect.
[US]P. Kendall Dict. Service Sl. n.p.: carrying a heavy load . . . melancholy, depressed.
[US]S. Longstreet Real Jazz Old and New 148: Carrying weight is a load of the blues [W&F].

2. to take responsibility.

[US]A.J. Pollock Und. Speaks 19/1: Carrying the weight, an inmate who is the only member of a group equally guilty brought to trial and convicted (prison).
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 232: carry weight 1. Possess influence. 2. Possess strength of character. 3. Possess impressive knowledge.
[UK] in G. Tremlett Little Legs 91: They’ve got to do the bird, carry the weight, and change the nappies.
[US]W.D. Myers ‘A Story in Three Parts’ in 145th Street 126: ‘She got to get a scholarship to get into this school she wants to make up in Boston, man.’ You can’t carry the weight?’ Big Time asked.
have all that one can carry (v.) (also get more than one can carry, have more than one can carry)

to be very drunk.

[UK] Gent.’s Mag. Dec. 560/1: To express the condition of an Honest Fellow [...] under the Effects of good Fellowship, [...] it is also said that he has 59. Got more than he can carry.
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘Belinda to the Bench’ Sporting Times 13 Oct. 1/4: He’d had more than he could carry, and was blind, or nearly so.
[UK]‘William Juniper’ True Drunkard’s Delight 224: It is also said, that he [...] got more than he can carry.

In exclamations

carry me out (and bury me decently)! [play on Lat. nunc dimittis, ‘Now let thy servant depart...’, the first words of the Song of Simeon in Luke 2:29; bolstered by images of prize- and cockfighting]

a general excl. of disbelief and displeasure.

[UK]N&Q 16 May 387/2: Carry me out and bury me decently. Do any of your correspondents recollect to have heard this phrase? [F&H].
[UK]T. Hughes Tom Brown at Oxford (1880) 498: And so the president comes out to see the St. Ambrose boat row? Seldom misses two nights running. Then ‘carry me out, and bury me decently’.
[UK]Sl. Dict.
[UK]R. Whiteing No. 5 John Street 213: Oh carry me out, an’ let me die!
[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era.
[UK]Partridge DSUE (1984) 185/1: from ca. 1780.