a motion-picture theater, refreshment stand, bank, or other public facility designed to accommodate patrons in their automobiles.


of, relating to, or characteristic of such an establishment: Drive-in business far exceeded walk-in business.

Origin of drive-in

1925–30, Americanism; noun, adj. use of verb phrase drive in Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for drive-in

Contemporary Examples of drive-in

Historical Examples of drive-in

British Dictionary definitions for drive-in



denoting a public facility or service designed to be used by patrons seated in their carsa drive-in bank


mainly US and Canadian a cinema designed to be used in such a manner
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 drive-in

in reference to of restaurants, banks, etc., 1929; from drive (v.) + in. Of movie theaters by 1933 (the year the first one opened, in Camden, N.J.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper