• synonyms


See more synonyms for car on Thesaurus.com
  1. an automobile.
  2. a vehicle running on rails, as a streetcar or railroad car.
  3. the part of an elevator, balloon, modern airship, etc., that carries the passengers, freight, etc.
  4. British Dialect. any wheeled vehicle, as a farm cart or wagon.
  5. Literary. a chariot, as of war or triumph.
  6. Archaic. cart; carriage.
Show More

Origin of car1

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
Related formscar·less, adjective


adjective Chiefly Scot.
  1. left-handed.
  2. sinister.
Show More

Origin of car2

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


  1. computer-assisted retrieval.
Show More

Origin of CAR

First recorded in 1980–85


  1. carat; carats.
Show More
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for car

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • They awoke one morning to find the car on a siding at the One Girl mine.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • "Thought it might be some of you folks when I saw the car," said Higbee, shaking hands all around.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • When he set out he meant to reach the car and go back to town at once.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • She bowed curtly to Grace and Emma as her car whizzed by them.

  • I am haunted by the thought that my car may break down when I have a load of wounded.

    Ballads of a Bohemian

    Robert W. Service

British Dictionary definitions for car


    1. Also called: motorcar, automobilea 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
  1. a conveyance for passengers, freight, etc, such as a cable car or the carrier of an airship or balloon
  2. British a railway vehicle for passengers only, such as a sleeping car or buffet car
  3. mainly US and Canadian a railway carriage or van
  4. mainly US the enclosed platform of a lift
  5. a poetic word for chariot
Show More

Word Origin

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


abbreviation for
  1. compound annual return
Show More
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

Word Origin and History for car


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.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper