From the verb phrase carry on.
carry-on (not comparable)
- Taken onto an airplane with a passenger, rather than checked.
- It's a compact suitcase, but it makes a good carry-on bag.
carry-on (plural carry-ons)
- That luggage or baggage which is taken onto an airplane with a passenger, rather than checked.
- Do you think they'll accept my ski poles as carry-on?
- (Britain, New Zealand) An activity that is done in an excessively excitable or anxious manner.
2002, Lynne Graham, The Italian's Wife:
- "I love salad",she dared when it came to the next course, and then inwardly cringed when it seemed that that was actually a special order and there was such a carry-on about what kind of salad she wanted.
2011, November 27, “Kitty Empire”, in The Observer:
- The stopping, restarting, swearing and routine self-deprecation ("I'm in trouble with the vicar – eternal trouble," quips Martin) is the kind of carry-on that has fans purring with pleasure.
the luggage which is taken onto an airplane with a passenger