What Does Carry the Day Mean?

Carry the Day Meaning

Definition: To win or succeed.

Origin of Carry the Day

This expression comes from the Latin expression victoriam reportare, which means to carry off the honors of the day. This is because the person who won a battle or any other contest would receive a trophy or some other type of reward.

The winner would get to carry this reward as a symbol of victory. In English, people have been using this expression since at least the 1700s.

Examples of Carry the Day

Meaning of carry the dayIn this example, a college professor is complimenting her students on winning a debate.

Professor: Wow! Congratulations, Frank and Karl! You win the debate. You did a wonderful job.

Frank: Really?

Karl: I can’t believe it! Thank you!

Professor: No thanks are necessary. You earned it. Now go out and celebrate how you carried the day!

Frank: I think we will do just that.

Carry the dayIn this example, two friends are competing in a trivia contest.

Lily: Are you ready? We have to do our best.

Grace: I’m ready, but remember what I told you earlier. I’m not very good at trivia.

Lily: That’s okay. I should be able to get us the most points by myself. I really just needed you because each team had a requirement of a two-person minimum.

Grace: That doesn’t make me feel very needed.

Lily: Sorry. I didn’t mean it like that. I just meant that in my old neighborhood I always carried the day in these trivia contests. In other words, don’t worry. We’re going to win this thing!

More Examples

In the below excerpt, the author wants more people to vote. This is because, with fewer voters, special interest groups can make their chosen candidate win more easily.   

  • Special interests thrive in a low voter turnout environment. It’s that much easier to carry the day with their favorite candidate or cause, even if such an outcome turns out disastrous to taxpayers who demand quality, affordable government. –Chicago Tribune

This excerpt is about sports. This team has a very strong defense that helps them to win.

  • But when shots weren’t falling on the offensive end, the Huskies could always count on their defense to carry the day. In the sectional final, leaks in their defense allowed the Vikings (27-6) to score seven straight points to open the second half. –Chicago Tribune

Summary

To carry the day means to be victorious.