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an automobile.
a vehicle running on rails, as a streetcar or railroad car.
the part of an elevator, balloon, modern airship, etc., that carries the passengers, freight, etc.
British Dialect. any wheeled vehicle, as a farm cart or wagon.
Literary. a chariot, as of war or triumph.
Archaic. cart; carriage.
Historical Examples

The first to open the work there was a Mr. carless, a clergyman of the Church of England.
Behind the Veil in Persia and Turkish Arabia M. E. Hume-Griffith

“And he is gone to a land with which we have no extradition treaty,” observed carless, as Mr. Forde banged the door behind him.
Mortomley’s Estate, Vol. III (of 3) Charlotte Elizabeth Lawson Cowan Riddell

“And he was not half a bad sort, the governor,” said carless, shutting up the day-book.
Mortomley’s Estate, Vol. III (of 3) Charlotte Elizabeth Lawson Cowan Riddell


Also called motorcar, automobile. a self-propelled road vehicle designed to carry passengers, esp one with four wheels that is powered by an internal-combustion engine
(as modifier): car coat

a conveyance for passengers, freight, etc, such as a cable car or the carrier of an airship or balloon
(Brit) a railway vehicle for passengers only, such as a sleeping car or buffet car
(mainly US & Canadian) a railway carriage or van
(mainly US) the enclosed platform of a lift
a poetic word for chariot
compound annual return

c.1300, “wheeled vehicle,” from Anglo-French carre, Old North French carre, from Vulgar Latin *carra, related to Latin carrum, carrus (plural carra), originally “two-wheeled Celtic war chariot,” from Gaulish karros, a Celtic word (cf. Old Irish and Welsh carr “cart, wagon,” Breton karr “chariot”), from PIE *krsos, from root *kers- “to run” (see current (adj.)).

“From 16th to 19th c. chiefly poetic, with associations of dignity, solemnity, or splendour …” [OED]. Used in U.S. of railway carriages by 1826; extension to “automobile” is by 1896. Car bomb first 1972, in reference to Northern Ireland. The Latin word also is the source of Italian and Spanish carro, French char.


A group of prisoners from the same city or other place; locational clique: All these kids were in the Sacramento car (1980s+ Prison)

Related Terms

funny car, prowl car
Carina (constellation)
Carolina Panthers
computer-assisted retrieval


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