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[vee-i-kuh l or, sometimes, vee-hi-] /ˈvi ɪ kəl or, sometimes, ˈvi hɪ-/
any means in or by which someone travels or something is carried or conveyed; a means of conveyance or transport:
a motor vehicle; space vehicles.
a conveyance moving on wheels, runners, tracks, or the like, as a cart, sled, automobile, or tractor.
a means of transmission or passage:
Air is the vehicle of sound.
a carrier, as of infection.
a medium of communication, expression, or display:
The novel is a fitting vehicle for his talents. Language is the vehicle of thought.
Theater, Movies. a play, screenplay, or the like, having a role suited to the talents of and often written for a specific performer.
a means of accomplishing a purpose:
College is a vehicle for success.
Rhetoric. the thing or idea to which the subject of a metaphor is compared, as “rose” in “she is a rose.”.
Compare tenor (def 3).
Pharmacology. a substance, usually fluid, possessing little or no medicinal action, used as a medium for active remedies.
Painting. a liquid, as oil, in which a pigment is mixed before being applied to a surface.
Origin of vehicle
1605-15; < Latin vehiculum, equivalent to veh(ere) to convey + -i- -i- + -culum -cle2
Pronunciation note
Because the primary stress in vehicle is on the first syllable, the
[h] /h/ (Show IPA)
in the second syllable tends to disappear:
[vee-i-kuh l] /ˈvi ɪ kəl/ .
A pronunciation with primary stress on the second syllable and a fully pronounced [h] /h/ is usually considered nonstandard: [vee-hik-uh l] /viˈhɪk əl/ . In the adjective vehicular, where the primary stress is normally on the second syllable, the [h] /h/ is always pronounced. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for vehicle
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Vast crowds lined the route, afoot and in every kind of vehicle.

    The Grand Old Man Richard B. Cook
  • The buck-board is the only vehicle possible over these mountain-roads.

    The Underdog F. Hopkinson Smith
  • In the vehicle in which I drove to the station the kind man had put a basket of food.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • I got out of the vehicle with the infirmary attendant and his assistant.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • Once our vehicle entered an elevator and was let down a brief distance.

    City of Endless Night Milo Hastings
British Dictionary definitions for vehicle


any conveyance in or by which people or objects are transported, esp one fitted with wheels
a medium for the expression, communication, or achievement of ideas, information, power, etc
(pharmacol) a therapeutically inactive substance mixed with the active ingredient to give bulk to a medicine
Also called base. a painting medium, such as oil, in which pigments are suspended
(in the performing arts) a play, musical composition, etc, that enables a particular performer to display his talents
a rocket excluding its payload
Derived Forms
vehicular (vɪˈhɪkjʊlə) adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Latin vehiculum, from vehere to carry
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 vehicle

1610s, "a medium through which a drug or medicine is administered," also "any means of conveying or transmitting," from French véhicule, from Latin vehiculum "means of transport, a vehicle," from vehere "to carry," from PIE *wegh- "to go, transport in a vehicle" (cf. Old English wegan "to carry;" Old Norse vegr, Old High German weg "way;" Middle Dutch wagen "wagon;" see wagon). Sense of "cart or other conveyance" first recorded 1650s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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vehicle in Medicine

vehicle ve·hi·cle (vē'ĭ-kəl)
A substance of no therapeutic value that is used to convey an active medicine for administration.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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