[ vee-i-kuhl or, sometimes, vee-hi- ]
See synonyms for: vehiclevehicles on

  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.

  1. a means of transmission or passage: Air is the vehicle of sound.

  2. a carrier, as of infection.

  3. a medium of communication, expression, or display: The novel is a fitting vehicle for his talents. Language is the vehicle of thought.

  4. Theater, Movies. a play, screenplay, or the like, having a role suited to the talents of and often written for a specific performer.

  5. a means of accomplishing a purpose: College is a vehicle for success.

  6. 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).

  7. Pharmacology. a substance, usually fluid, possessing little or no medicinal action, used as a medium for active remedies.

  8. Painting. a liquid, as oil, in which a pigment is mixed before being applied to a surface.

Origin of vehicle

First recorded in 1605–15; from Latin vehiculum, from veh(ere) “to carry, convey, ride” + -i- -i- + -culum -cle2

pronunciation note For vehicle

Because the primary stress in vehicle is on the first syllable, the [h] /h/ in the second syllable tends to disappear: [vee-i-kuhl]. /ˈvi ɪ kəl/. A pronunciation with primary stress on the second syllable and a fully pronounced [h] /h/ is usually considered nonstandard: [vee-hik-uhl]. /viˈhɪk əl/. In the adjective vehicular, where the primary stress is normally on the second syllable, the [h] /h/ is always pronounced.

Words Nearby vehicle Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use vehicle in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for vehicle


/ (ˈviːɪkəl) /

  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

  1. pharmacol a therapeutically inactive substance mixed with the active ingredient to give bulk to a medicine

  2. Also called: base a painting medium, such as oil, in which pigments are suspended

  3. (in the performing arts) a play, musical composition, etc, that enables a particular performer to display his talents

  4. a rocket excluding its payload

Origin of vehicle

C17: from Latin vehiculum, from vehere to carry

Derived forms of vehicle

  • vehicular (vɪˈhɪkjʊlə), adjective

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