car (n.)

c. 1300, "wheeled vehicle," from Anglo-French carre, Old North French carre, from Vulgar Latin *carra, related to Latin carrum, carrus (plural carra), originally "two-wheeled Celtic war chariot," from Gaulish karros, a Celtic word (compare Old Irish and Welsh carr "cart, wagon," Breton karr "chariot"), from PIE *krsos, from root *kers- "to run."

"From 16th to 19th c. chiefly poetic, with associations of dignity, solemnity, or splendour ..." [OED]. Used in U.S. by 1826 of railway freight carriages and of passenger coaches on a railway by 1830; by 1862 of streetcars or tramway cars. Extension to "automobile" is by 1896, but from 1831 to the first decade of 20c. the cars meant "railroad train." Car bomb is attested from 1972, in reference to Northern Ireland. The Latin word also is the source of Italian and Spanish carro, French char.

Origin and meaning of car

updated on April 17, 2022

Definitions of car from WordNet

car (n.)
a motor vehicle with four wheels; usually propelled by an internal combustion engine;
he needs a car to get to work
Synonyms: auto / automobile / machine / motorcar
car (n.)
a wheeled vehicle adapted to the rails of railroad;
three cars had jumped the rails
Synonyms: railcar / railway car / railroad car
car (n.)
the compartment that is suspended from an airship and that carries personnel and the cargo and the power plant;
Synonyms: gondola
car (n.)
where passengers ride up and down;
the car was on the top floor
Synonyms: elevator car
car (n.)
a conveyance for passengers or freight on a cable railway;
they took a cable car to the top of the mountain
Synonyms: cable car
Etymologies are not definitions. From, not affiliated with etymonline.