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[moh-tel] /moʊˈtɛl/
a hotel providing travelers with lodging and free parking facilities, typically a roadside hotel having rooms adjacent to an outside parking area or an urban hotel offering parking within the building.
Origin of motel
1920-25; blend of motor and hotel
Can be confused
hostel, hotel, motel (see synonym study at hotel) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for motel
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I found a motel in a rather untravelled spot and sacked in for the night.

    Highways in Hiding George Oliver Smith
  • The car was going to take a dive into the fountain pool in front of my motel.

    Vigorish Gordon Randall Garrett
  • She says a lot of motel owners do all right as Justices of the Peace.

    The Love of Frank Nineteen David Carpenter Knight
  • We got into the parking lot of a closed summer motel with a number of other travelers.

  • They were about fifty miles to the west of there in a motel.

British Dictionary definitions for motel


a roadside hotel for motorists, usually having direct access from each room or chalet to a parking space or garage
Word Origin
C20: from motor + hotel
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for motel

1925, coined from motor- + hotel. Originally a hotel for automobile travelers.

The Milestone Interstate Corporation ... proposes to build and operate a chain of motor hotels between San Diego and Seattle, the hotels to have the name 'Motel.' ["Hotel Monthly," March 1925]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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