What does car mean?


To most of us on the outside, a car is a vehicle with a motor and four wheels. But in prison slang, your car is your crew, especially when it comes to drugs, protection, and money-making.

Examples of car


Examples of car
I have the keys for my Car but my Road Dogs are disappearing on me.
Prison Writers, 2015
That guy's in the New York car. If you fuck with him, you'll have to deal with all of them.
Seth Ferranti, Vice, October 2015
#iremember my 1st rap show i did.. 1999 Indian Spring Nevada Prison Yard !! believe that !! whole yard watched and the whole car was wit me
@GUILTYONE775, June 2009

Where does car come from?

Dearbhla Kelly / Irish Times

In prison slang, the expression car refers to a small band of prisoners who stick together, often for protection, companionship, running drugs, or making money.

The slang car dates to at least the 1990s. A group of convicts who are on good terms with one another are thought of as being in the car together. Being in the car can also refer to being in on a car‘s particular operation. If one of the prisoners has a falling out with the others, they are out of the car.

The prison car, then, is a bit like an informal gang of prisoners who spend time together and pool their resources, including drugs and money.

This car imagery has spawned lots of other related expressions. For example, by at least the 1990s, a prisoner who bought drugs for the others in the group was referred to as driving the car. Someone who used the drugs without paying for them was referred to as hitchhiking.

Bronia Stewart / Mutant Space

By 2015, prisoners referred to members of their group as a car. Your car is often based on your race, geography, or affiliated gang, e.g. a black car or an Aryan Nation car. Cars can also exert their power to domineer over other prisoners.

Who uses car?

Calling a group of people you’re affiliated with a car is mostly associated with prison life and culture.

On the outside, someone’s car is more commonly referred to as a gang or crew.

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