Green’s Dictionary of Slang

carry v.

[ext. uses of SE]

1. [1930s] (US drugs) of a supply of drugs, to suffice an addict for a given period of time.

2. [1930s+] (orig. US) to carry money, to be in the money.

3. [1930s+] (orig. US) to carry a weapon, e.g. a gun or knife; thus carrying n., being in possession of a gun.

4. [1940s+] (orig. US drugs) to carry drugs; often as carrying, being in possession of drugs.

5. [1980s+] (Aus. prison) to smuggle or hold contraband.

6. [2010s] (US campus) to insult, to mock.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

carry-away (n.)

[1950s] (US und.) a robbery wherein the safe is first removed from the premises before being opened.

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]

[mid-17C] a coach.

carry-on (n.)

see separate entry.

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

[late 19C–1940s] a hangover that lingers on.

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]

[1900-10] (US) to gossip, to spread rumours.

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]

[early 19C] to work as a prostitute.

carry a case (v.) [pun on SE case, bag/impending trial]

[20C+] (US Und.) to be out on bail.

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)]

[1930s] (US black) to trick, to deceive.

carry a flag (v.)

[1930s+] (US tramp) to travel under an assumed name or alias.

carry corn (v.) [Yorks. dial.]

[mid-19C–1900s] to behave well when successful, i.e. to be a modest winner, to restrain oneself despite gaining power or money.

carry milk-pails (v.) [the image of a milkmaid with her yoke and two pails]

[mid-19C] of a man, to walk with a woman on each arm.

carry no coals (v.) [reverse of SE phr. carry coals, to do dirty or degrading work, thus to accept insults]

[late 16C–17C] to show oneself proof against swindling or insults.

carry on (v.)

see separate entry.

carry one’s own weight (v.) [1950s+] (US)

1. to take responsibility for one’s actions.

2. to have influence.

carry someone in one’s heart (v.)

[1940s–50s] (S.Afr.) to bear a grudge against someone in the hope of getting eventual revenge.

carry the drum (v.) [? the image of a drummer beating slowly, as in a funeral procession]

1. [1940s] (Aus.) to work slowly (in a shearing shed).

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. [1920s–70s] (US) to go fast.

2. [1920s–70s] (US) to take responsibility for a difficult task.

3. [1940s–50s] (Aus.) to stand a round of drinks [the ‘delivery’ of the drinks].

carry the stockwhip (v.)

[1930s+] (Aus., Northern Terr.) of a wife, to dominate her husband.

carry weight (v.) (also carry a heavy load) [one is bowed beneath one’s cares] [1930s+]

1. to be depressed.

2. to take responsibility.

have all that one can carry (v.) (also get more than one can carry, have more than one can carry)

[mid-18C+] to be very drunk.

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]

[late 18C–1930s] a general excl. of disbelief and displeasure.

carry your hip! [euph. hip, the buttocks, the backside]

[20C+] (W.I.) get out! go away!