- any of various kinds of four-wheeled vehicles designed to be pulled or having its own motor and ranging from a child's toy to a commercial vehicle for the transport of heavy loads, delivery, etc.
- Informal. station wagon.
- a police van for transporting prisoners; patrol wagon: The fight broke up before the wagon arrived.
- (initial capital letter) Astronomy. Charles's Wain.
- British. a railway freight car or flatcar.
- a baby carriage.
- Archaic. a chariot.
- to transport or convey by wagon.
- to proceed or haul goods by wagon: It was strenuous to wagon up the hill.Also especially British, waggon.
- circle the wagons. circle(def 23).
- fix someone's wagon, Slang. to get even with or punish someone: He'd better mind his own business or I'll really fix his wagon.
- hitch one's wagon to a star, to have a high ambition, ideal, or purpose: It is better to hitch one's wagon to a star than to wander aimlessly through life.
- off the/one's wagon, Slang.
- again drinking alcoholic beverages after a period of abstinence: His failure to show up at work is one more sign that he’s fallen off the wagon again.
- returning to an unhealthy or bad habit: I’m usually on a diet, but sometimes I go off my wagon.
- on the wagon, Slang. abstaining from a current or former bad habit, as smoking, overeating, excessive drinking of alcoholic beverages, or taking drugs: She's been on the wagon for a month, now, so please don't offer her a drink.Also on the water wagon; British, on the water cart.
Origin of wagon
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
- the Wagon another name for the Plough
- any of various types of wheeled vehicles, ranging from carts to lorries, esp a vehicle with four wheels drawn by a horse, tractor, etc, and used for carrying crops, heavy loads, etc
- British a railway freight truck, esp an open one
- US and Canadian a child's four-wheeled cart
- US and Canadian a police van for transporting prisoners and those arrested
- mainly US and Canadian See station wagon
- an obsolete word for chariot
- off the wagon informal no longer abstaining from alcoholic drinks
- on the wagon informal abstaining from alcoholic drinks
- (tr) to transport by wagon
Word Origin and History for on the wagon
1520s, from Middle Dutch wagen, waghen, from Proto-Germanic *wagnaz (cf. Old English wægn, Modern English wain, Old Saxon and Old High German wagan, Old Norse vagn, Old Frisian wein, German Wagen), from PIE *woghnos, from *wegh- "to carry, to move" (cf. Sanskrit vahanam "vessel, ship," Greek okhos, Latin vehiculum, Old Church Slavonic vozu "carriage, chariot," Russian povozka, Lithuanian vazis "a small sledge," Old Irish fen, Welsh gwain "carriage, cart;" see weigh).
In Dutch and German, the general word for "a wheel vehicle;" English use is a result of contact through Flemish immigration, Dutch trade, or the Continental wars. It has largely displaced the native cognate, wain. Spelling preference varied randomly between -g- and -gg- from mid-18c., before American English settled on the etymological wagon, while waggon remained common in Great Britain. Wagon train is attested from 1810. Phrase on the wagon "abstaining from alcohol" is 1904, originally on the water cart.
Idioms and Phrases with on the wagon
on the wagon
Abstaining from drinking alcoholic beverages, as in Don't offer her wine; she's on the wagon. This expression is a shortening of on the water wagon, referring to the horse-drawn water car once used to spray dirt roads to keep down the dust. Its present meaning dates from about 1900. The antonym off the wagon, used for a resumption of drinking, dates from the same period. B.J. Taylor used it in Extra Dry (1906): “It is better to have been on and off the wagon than never to have been on at all.”
see fix someone's wagon; hitch one's wagon; on the bandwagon; on the wagon.