[ drahyv-in ]
See synonyms for drive-in on
  1. a place of business or public facility designed to accommodate patrons who sit in their automobiles, as a movie theater with an outdoor screen facing the parking area or a restaurant where servers bring food out to be eaten in the parked automobiles.

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

Origin of drive-in

An Americanism first recorded in 1925–30; noun, adjective use of verb phrase drive in

Words Nearby drive-in Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use drive-in in a sentence

  • On the drive-in, Adine stopped the car while Davy invoiced his available cash at sixty-five dollars.

    David Lannarck, Midget | George S. Harney
  • As soon as possible, however, a shop which is large enough to have a drive-in should be rented or built.

  • A drive-in is also convenient if a customer leaves his car while his battery is being repaired.

  • As soon as growth of business permits, a shop should have a drive-in, so that the customer may bring his car off the street.

  • The guy at the drive-in made a positive identification; it's the one he sold Fleming.

    Murder in the Gunroom | Henry Beam Piper

British Dictionary definitions for drive-in


  1. denoting a public facility or service designed to be used by patrons seated in their cars: a drive-in bank

  1. 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