Chiefly British. an automobile.
Railroads. a self-propelled car for freight or passengers.

Origin of motorcar

An Americanism dating back to 1885–90; motor + car1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for motorcar

Contemporary Examples of motorcar

Historical Examples of motorcar

  • "It's the American gentleman that owns the motorcar," said Doyle.

    General John Regan

    George A. Birmingham

  • He walked, hat in hand, towards the stranger in the motorcar.

    General John Regan

    George A. Birmingham

  • As he spoke, the gates were opened and a motorcar drove through.

  • No farmhouse was in sight to which the motorcar might have gone.

    The Secret Wireless

    Lewis E. Theiss

  • I only borrowed a motorcar while the owners were at lunch; they had no need of it at the time.

British Dictionary definitions for motorcar



a more formal word for car (def. 1)
a self-propelled electric railway car
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 motorcar

also motor-car, 1895 from motor (n.) + car.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper