Definition: Car

From New World Encyclopedia


Inherited from Middle English carre, borrowed from Anglo-Norman carre, from Old Northern French (compare Old French char), from Latin carrus (two-wheeled baggage wagon), from Gaulish *karros, from Proto-Celtic *karros (wagon), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱr̥sós (vehicle).


car (plural cars)

  1. A wheeled vehicle that moves independently, with at least three wheels, powered mechanically, steered by a driver and mostly for personal transportation.
    She drove her car to the mall.
  2. (railway transportation) An unpowered unit in a railroad train.
    The conductor coupled the cars to the locomotive.
  3. (railway transportation) an individual vehicle, powered or unpowered, in a multiple unit.
    The 11:10 to London was operated by a four-car diesel multiple unit.
  4. (Railway transportation) A passenger-carrying unit in a subway or elevated train, whether powered or not.
    From the frontmost car of the subway, he filmed the progress through the tunnel.
  5. A rough unit of quantity approximating the amount which would fill a railroad car.
    We ordered five hundred cars of gypsum.
  6. The moving, load-carrying component of an elevator or other cable-drawn transport mechanism.
    Fix the car of the express elevator; the door is sticking.
  7. The passenger-carrying portion of certain amusement park rides, such as Ferris wheels.
    The most exciting part of riding a Ferris wheel is when your car goes over the top.
  8. The part of an airship, such as a balloon or dirigible, which houses the passengers and control apparatus.
  9. (sailing) A sliding fitting that runs along a track.

Derived terms

  • baggage car
  • boxcar
  • bumper car
  • cabin car
  • cable car
  • car alarm
  • car battery
  • car carrier
  • car chase
  • car crash
  • car door
  • car ferry
  • car hop
  • car insurance
  • car lot
  • car park
  • car part
  • car phone
  • car seat
  • carwash
  • cattle car
  • economy car
  • electric car
  • flatcar
  • freight car
  • horsecar
  • hybrid car
  • motor car
  • muscle car
  • passenger car
  • patrol car
  • pedal car
  • police car
  • race car
  • railcar
  • rental car
  • self-driving car
  • sports car
  • stock car
  • trolley car

Related terms

  • carriage
  • chariot


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