[fey-i-tn or, esp. British, feyt-n]


any of various light, four-wheeled carriages, with or without a top, having one or two seats facing forward, used in the 19th century.
a vintage automobile of the touring-car type.

Origin of phaeton

1585–95; special use of Latin Phaetōn, variant of Phaethōn Phaethon Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for phaeton

Historical Examples of phaeton

  • He had been a tailor in his time, and had kept a phaeton, he said.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • Did you know you are to drive me into town in the phaeton for the fireworks?

  • Do you think the ancient Greeks really believed the story of Phaeton?

    Classic Myths

    Mary Catherine Judd

  • Since that time Phaeton has got into the chariot of the sun; we, alas!

    Apologia Pro Vita Sua

    John Henry Cardinal Newman

  • Yet another mourned for PhaetonPhaeton “dead ere his prime.”

British Dictionary definitions for phaeton



a light four-wheeled horse-drawn carriage with or without a top, usually having two seats

Word Origin for phaeton

C18: from Phaëthon
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 phaeton

type of light four-wheeled carriage, 1742, from French (1735), from Greek Phaethon name of the son of Helios and Clymene, who tried to drive his father's sun-chariot but crashed after almost setting fire to the whole earth. His name is literally "shining," from phaein "to shine, gleam," from phaos "light" (see fantasy). Earlier as a name for a reckless driver (1590s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper