[ kahr ]
/ kɑr /
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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.
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Origin of car

1350–1400; Middle English carre<Anglo-French <Late Latin carra (feminine singular), Latin carra, neuter plural of carrum, variant of carrus<Celtic; compare Old Irish carr wheeled vehicle


carless, adjective

Other definitions for car (2 of 4)

[ kahr ]
/ kɑr /

adjective Chiefly Scot.

Origin of car

1375–1425; Middle English (Scots ) <Scots Gaelic cearr

Other definitions for car (3 of 4)


computer-assisted retrieval.

Origin of CAR

First recorded in 1980–85

Other definitions for car (4 of 4)


carat; carats.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What else does car mean?

To most of us on the outside, a car is a vehicle with a motor and four wheels. But in prison slang, your car is your crew, especially when it comes to drugs, protection, and money-making.

Where does car come from?

In prison slang, the expression car refers to a small band of prisoners who stick together, often for protection, companionship, running drugs, or making money.

The slang car dates to at least the 1990s. A group of convicts who are on good terms with one another are thought of as being in the car together. Being in the car can also refer to being in on a car‘s particular operation. If one of the prisoners has a falling out with the others, they are out of the car.

The prison car, then, is a bit like an informal gang of prisoners who spend time together and pool their resources, including drugs and money.

This car imagery has spawned lots of other related expressions. For example, by at least the 1990s, a prisoner who bought drugs for the others in the group was referred to as driving the car. Someone who used the drugs without paying for them was referred to as hitchhiking.

By 2015, prisoners referred to members of their group as a car. Your car is often based on your race, geography, or affiliated gang (e.g. a black car or an Aryan Nation car). Cars can also exert their power to domineer over other prisoners.

How is car used in real life?

Calling a group of people you’re affiliated with a car is mostly associated with prison life and culture.

On the outside, someone’s car is more commonly referred to as a gang or crew.

More examples of car:

“That guy’s in the New York car. If you fuck with him, you’ll have to deal with all of them.”
—Seth Ferranti, Vice, October 2015


This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.

How to use car in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for car (1 of 2)

/ (kɑː) /

  1. 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
  2. (as modifier)car coat
a conveyance for passengers, freight, etc, such as a cable car or the carrier of an airship or balloon
British a railway vehicle for passengers only, such as a sleeping car or buffet car
mainly US and Canadian a railway carriage or van
mainly US the enclosed platform of a lift
a poetic word for chariot

Word Origin for car

C14: from Anglo-French carre, ultimately related to Latin carra, carrum two-wheeled wagon, probably of Celtic origin; compare Old Irish carr

British Dictionary definitions for car (2 of 2)


abbreviation for
compound annual return
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