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[wag-uh n] /ˈwæg ən/
any of various kinds of four-wheeled vehicles designed to be pulled or having its own motor and ranging from a child's toy to a commercial vehicle for the transport of heavy loads, delivery, etc.
Informal. station wagon.
a police van for transporting prisoners; patrol wagon:
The fight broke up before the wagon arrived.
(initial capital letter) Astronomy. Charles's Wain.
British. a railway freight car or flatcar.
a baby carriage.
Archaic. a chariot.
verb (used with object)
to transport or convey by wagon.
verb (used without object)
to proceed or haul goods by wagon:
It was strenuous to wagon up the hill.
Also, especially British, waggon.
circle the wagons. circle (def 23).
fix someone's wagon, Slang. to get even with or punish someone:
He'd better mind his own business or I'll really fix his wagon.
hitch one's wagon to a star, to have a high ambition, ideal, or purpose:
It is better to hitch one's wagon to a star than to wander aimlessly through life.
off the / one's wagon, Slang.
  1. again drinking alcoholic beverages after a period of abstinence:
    His failure to show up at work is one more sign that he’s fallen off the wagon again.
  2. returning to an unhealthy or bad habit:
    I’m usually on a diet, but sometimes I go off my wagon.
on the wagon, Slang. abstaining from a current or former bad habit, as smoking, overeating, excessive drinking of alcoholic beverages, or taking drugs:
She's been on the wagon for a month, now, so please don't offer her a drink.
Also, on the water wagon; British, on the water cart.
Origin of wagon
1505-15; < Dutch wagen; cognate with Old English wægn wain
Related forms
wagonless, adjective
1. cart, van, wain, truck, dray, lorry. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for wagon
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Sometimes they sent a wagon into the city for Frederick Douglass and his family.

    Susan B. Anthony Alma Lutz
  • "Put him in the wagon, and we will drive home," said Captain Fishley.

    Down The River Oliver Optic
  • Wetherell remained in the wagon while Lemuel went in to transact his business.

    Coniston, Complete Winston Churchill
  • He was resting, and gazing about him, when the wagon driver came up.

    The Rich Little Poor Boy Eleanor Gates
  • A wagon or a mule would have caused his death almost immediately.

    Our Part in the Great War Arthur Gleason
British Dictionary definitions for wagon


any of various types of wheeled vehicles, ranging from carts to lorries, esp a vehicle with four wheels drawn by a horse, tractor, etc, and used for carrying crops, heavy loads, etc
(Brit) a railway freight truck, esp an open one
(US & Canadian) a child's four-wheeled cart
(US & Canadian) a police van for transporting prisoners and those arrested
(mainly US & Canadian) See station wagon
an obsolete word for chariot
(informal) off the wagon, no longer abstaining from alcoholic drinks
(informal) on the wagon, abstaining from alcoholic drinks
(transitive) to transport by wagon
Derived Forms
wagonless, waggonless, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Dutch wagenwain


the Wagon, another name for the Plough
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 wagon

1520s, from Middle Dutch wagen, waghen, from Proto-Germanic *wagnaz (cf. Old English wægn, Modern English wain, Old Saxon and Old High German wagan, Old Norse vagn, Old Frisian wein, German Wagen), from PIE *woghnos, from *wegh- "to carry, to move" (cf. Sanskrit vahanam "vessel, ship," Greek okhos, Latin vehiculum, Old Church Slavonic vozu "carriage, chariot," Russian povozka, Lithuanian vazis "a small sledge," Old Irish fen, Welsh gwain "carriage, cart;" see weigh).

In Dutch and German, the general word for "a wheel vehicle;" English use is a result of contact through Flemish immigration, Dutch trade, or the Continental wars. It has largely displaced the native cognate, wain. Spelling preference varied randomly between -g- and -gg- from mid-18c., before American English settled on the etymological wagon, while waggon remained common in Great Britain. Wagon train is attested from 1810. Phrase on the wagon "abstaining from alcohol" is 1904, originally on the water cart.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for wagon
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with wagon
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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