Your car is your automobile, your wheels, your vehicle. A car can also be another kind of moving compartment — such as a railroad car, a cable car, or a trolley car.

The word car has been around much longer than the automobile. It comes from the Latin carrus, a kind of wagon the Romans discovered from the Gauls, a European people the Romans conquered. It shows up in Italian and Spanish (carro, meaning "a car or a cart," and it also survives in various forms in modern Irish, Gaelic, Welsh, Breton, German, and other languages. When you’re listening to your engine purr, you can thank the Gauls. And the Romans.

Definitions of car
  1. noun
    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
    see moresee less
    show 40 types...
    hide 40 types...
    a vehicle that takes people to and from hospitals
    beach waggon, beach wagon, estate car, station waggon, station wagon, waggon, wagon
    a car that has a long body and rear door with space behind rear seat
    bus, heap, jalopy
    a car that is old and unreliable
    cab, hack, taxi, taxicab
    a car driven by a person whose job is to take passengers where they want to go in exchange for money
    compact, compact car
    a small and economical car
    a car that has top that can be folded or removed
    a car with two doors and front seats and a luggage compartment
    cruiser, patrol car, police car, police cruiser, prowl car, squad car
    a car in which policemen cruise the streets; equipped with radiotelephonic communications to headquarters
    electric, electric automobile, electric car
    a car that is powered by electricity
    gas guzzler
    a car with relatively low fuel efficiency
    a car that resembles a convertible but has a fixed rigid top
    a car having a hatchback door
    horseless carriage
    an early term for an automobile
    hot rod, hot-rod
    a car modified to increase its speed and acceleration
    jeep, landrover
    a car suitable for traveling over rough terrain
    limo, limousine
    large luxurious car; usually driven by a chauffeur
    a car that is lent as a replacement for one that is under repair
    a car that is even smaller than a subcompact car
    a small box-shaped passenger van; usually has removable seats; used as a family car
    Model T
    the first widely available automobile powered by a gasoline engine; mass-produced by Henry Ford from 1908 to 1927
    pace car
    a high-performance car that leads a parade of competing cars through the pace lap and then pulls off the course
    race car, racer, racing car
    a fast car that competes in races
    roadster, runabout, two-seater
    an open automobile having a front seat and a rumble seat
    saloon, sedan
    a car that is closed and that has front and rear seats and two or four doors
    sport car, sports car
    a small low car with a high-powered engine; usually seats two persons
    S.U.V., SUV, sport utility, sport utility vehicle
    a high-performance four-wheel drive car built on a truck chassis
    Stanley Steamer
    a steam-powered automobile
    stock car
    a car kept in dealers' stock for regular sales
    subcompact, subcompact car
    a car smaller than a compact car
    phaeton, tourer, touring car
    large open car seating four with folding top
    secondhand car, used-car
    a car that has been previously owned; not a new car
    a limousine with a glass partition between the front and back seats
    a sedan that has no roof over the driver's seat
    a race car that finishes a race
    funny wagon
    an ambulance used to transport patients to a mental hospital
    gypsy cab
    a taxicab that cruises for customers although it is licensed only to respond to calls
    a minicar used as a taxicab
    panda car
    a police cruiser
    shooting brake
    another name for a station wagon
    stock car
    a racing car with the basic chassis of a commercially available car
    type of:
    automotive vehicle, motor vehicle
    a self-propelled wheeled vehicle that does not run on rails
  2. noun
    a wheeled vehicle adapted to the rails of railroad
    “three cars had jumped the rails”
    synonyms: railcar, railroad car, railway car
    see moresee less
    show 24 types...
    hide 24 types...
    baggage car, luggage van
    a railway car where passengers' bags are carried
    cabin car, caboose
    a car on a freight train for use of the train crew; usually the last car on the train
    club car, lounge car
    railroad car having a bar and tables and lounge chairs
    freight car
    a railway car that carries freight
    guard's van
    the car on a train that is occupied by the guard
    a small railroad car propelled by hand or by a small motor
    mail car
    a railway car in which mail is transported and sorted
    carriage, coach, passenger car
    a railcar where passengers ride
    slip carriage, slip coach
    a railway car at the end of the train; it can be detached without stopping the train
    car attached to a locomotive to carry fuel and water
    (Great Britain) a closed railroad car that carries baggage or freight
    a freight car with roof and sliding doors in the sides
    cattle car
    a freight car for transporting cattle
    coal car
    freight car with fixed sides and no roof; for transporting coal
    buffet car, diner, dining car, dining compartment
    a passenger car where food is served in transit
    flat, flatbed, flatcar
    freight car without permanent sides or roof
    gondola, gondola car
    a low flat-bottomed freight car with fixed sides but no roof
    nonsmoker, nonsmoking car
    a passenger car for passengers who want to avoid tobacco smoke
    chair car, drawing-room car, palace car, parlor car, parlour car
    a passenger car for day travel; you pay extra fare for individual chairs
    Pullman, Pullman car
    luxurious passenger car; for day or night travel
    refrigerator car
    a freight car that is equipped with refrigeration system
    sleeper, sleeping car, wagon-lit
    a passenger car that has berths for sleeping
    smoker, smoking car, smoking carriage, smoking compartment
    a passenger car for passengers who wish to smoke
    tank, tank car
    a freight car that transports liquids or gases in bulk
    type of:
    wheeled vehicle
    a vehicle that moves on wheels and usually has a container for transporting things or people
  3. noun
    a conveyance for passengers or freight on a cable railway
    synonyms: cable car
    see moresee less
    type of:
    a partitioned section, chamber, or separate room within a larger enclosed area
  4. noun
    the compartment that is suspended from an airship and that carries personnel and the cargo and the power plant
    synonyms: gondola
    see moresee less
    type of:
    a partitioned section, chamber, or separate room within a larger enclosed area
  5. noun
    where passengers ride up and down
    “the car was on the top floor”
    synonyms: elevator car
    see moresee less
    type of:
    a partitioned section, chamber, or separate room within a larger enclosed area
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week