What Does Carry Your Own Weight Mean?

Carry Your Weight Meaning

Definition: To contribute your part to something.

People who carry their own weight are contributing equally to a task assigned to them. They are carrying out the part assigned to them and not relying on other to pick up their slack.

Imagine a group assigned to carry large loads. When everyone carries an equal amount of weight, the task is easier for the whole group because everyone is contributing to the task equally.

If someone is not carrying his or her own weight, that person is becoming a strain on the rest of the team. Others have to pick up some of the tasks that this person is not completing.

Origin of To Carry Your Own Weight

define carrying your own weightThe term comes from literally pulling weight in the sport of rowing. Rowers in a boat all have to contribute to the strength of the team in order to propel their boats forward.

People in a boat need to pull oars with equal proportion to their weight in the boat so as not to strain the rest of the crew in the boat. Therefore, they must carry their own weight.

This phrase means the same as the phrase to pull one’s own weight. The opposite, not pulling one’s own weight, is expressed in the idiom dead weight, which means to not complete tasks and be a burden on others.

Examples of To Carry Your Own Weight

meaning of carry your weightA group of college students working on a team might complain that one of their teammates does not carry his own weight if he does not show up to group meetings or turn work in on time.

Another group might divide up work early on in the task and create regular check-in points to ensure that everyone has completed small tasks to contribute to the group. They are ensuring that everyone carries his or her own weight.

More Examples

  • You’ll have to pull your own weight, but if you can manage to get an invite into one of these exclusive clubs, you’ll never miss out. –Huffington Post
  • When you get up on stage, there’s nobody holding your hand up there and if you can’t carry your own weight, you’re going to sink. –LA Times


To carry your own weight to is to contribute your part to a group task.