• synonyms


[vee-i-kuh l or, sometimes, vee-hi-]
See more synonyms for vehicle on Thesaurus.com
  1. any means in or by which someone travels or something is carried or conveyed; a means of conveyance or transport: a motor vehicle; space vehicles.
  2. a conveyance moving on wheels, runners, tracks, or the like, as a cart, sled, automobile, or tractor.
  3. a means of transmission or passage: Air is the vehicle of sound.
  4. a carrier, as of infection.
  5. a medium of communication, expression, or display: The novel is a fitting vehicle for his talents. Language is the vehicle of thought.
  6. Theater, Movies. a play, screenplay, or the like, having a role suited to the talents of and often written for a specific performer.
  7. a means of accomplishing a purpose: College is a vehicle for success.
  8. Rhetoric. the thing or idea to which the subject of a metaphor is compared, as “rose” in “she is a rose.”Compare tenor(def 3).
  9. Pharmacology. a substance, usually fluid, possessing little or no medicinal action, used as a medium for active remedies.
  10. Painting. a liquid, as oil, in which a pigment is mixed before being applied to a surface.
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Origin of vehicle

1605–15; < Latin vehiculum, equivalent to veh(ere) to convey + -i- -i- + -culum -cle2

Pronunciation note

Because the primary stress in vehicle is on the first syllable, the [h] /h/ in the second syllable tends to disappear: [vee-i-kuh l] /ˈvi ɪ kəl/. A pronunciation with primary stress on the second syllable and a fully pronounced [h] /h/ is usually considered nonstandard: [vee-hik-uh l] /viˈhɪk əl/. In the adjective vehicular, where the primary stress is normally on the second syllable, the [h] /h/ is always pronounced.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for vehicle

wagon, van, car, bus, truck, automobile, bicycle, boat, cab, taxi, jeep, instrument, tool, vector, buggy, crate, mechanism, conveyance, jalopy, agent

Examples from the Web for vehicle

Contemporary Examples of vehicle

Historical Examples of vehicle

  • Vast crowds lined the route, afoot and in every kind of vehicle.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • The buck-board is the only vehicle possible over these mountain-roads.

    The Underdog

    F. Hopkinson Smith

  • In the vehicle in which I drove to the station the kind man had put a basket of food.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • I got out of the vehicle with the infirmary attendant and his assistant.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • Once our vehicle entered an elevator and was let down a brief distance.

British Dictionary definitions for vehicle


  1. any conveyance in or by which people or objects are transported, esp one fitted with wheels
  2. a medium for the expression, communication, or achievement of ideas, information, power, etc
  3. pharmacol a therapeutically inactive substance mixed with the active ingredient to give bulk to a medicine
  4. Also called: base a painting medium, such as oil, in which pigments are suspended
  5. (in the performing arts) a play, musical composition, etc, that enables a particular performer to display his talents
  6. a rocket excluding its payload
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Derived Formsvehicular (vɪˈhɪkjʊlə), adjective

Word Origin for vehicle

C17: from Latin vehiculum, from vehere to carry
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 vehicle


1610s, "a medium through which a drug or medicine is administered," also "any means of conveying or transmitting," from French véhicule, from Latin vehiculum "means of transport, a vehicle," from vehere "to carry," from PIE *wegh- "to go, transport in a vehicle" (cf. Old English wegan "to carry;" Old Norse vegr, Old High German weg "way;" Middle Dutch wagen "wagon;" see wagon). Sense of "cart or other conveyance" first recorded 1650s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

vehicle in Medicine


  1. A substance of no therapeutic value that is used to convey an active medicine for administration.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.