Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A self-propelled passenger vehicle that usually has four wheels and an internal-combustion engine, used for land transport. Also called motorcar.
  • adj. Of or relating to automobiles; automotive.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A type of vehicle designed to move on the ground under its own stored power and intended to carry a driver, a small number of additional passengers, and a very limited amount of other load. A car or motorcar.
  • v. To travel by automobile.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. a self-propelled vehicle used for transporting passengers, suitable for use on a street or roadway. Many diferent models of automobiles have beenbuilt and sold commercially, possessing varied features such as a retractable roof (in a convertible), different braking systems, different propulsion systems, and varied styling. Most models have four wheels but some have been built with three wheels. Automobiles are usually propelled by internal combustion engines (using volatile inflammable liquids, as gasoline or petrol, alcohol, naphtha, etc.), and sometimes by steam engines, or electric motors. The power of the driving motor varies from under 50 H. P. for earlier models to over 200 H. P. larger models or high-performance sports or racing cars. An automobile is commonly called a car or an auto, and generally in British usage, motor cars.
  • intransitive v. to travel in an automobile.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Self-moving.
  • To ride in an automobile vehicle.
  • n. Any device or apparatus which is movable by a force placed within itself and is self-acting as to direction and control; specifically— A torpedo, carrying within itself a store of accumulated energy, which can be launched from a vessel or fort, and which, when properly directed and adjusted, will move through the water until it reaches the object at which it is aimed.
  • n. A vehicle, carrying within itself the source of the mechanical power which propels it, designed to move on common roads or high ways: a motor-car. ; ; ; ; ;

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a motor vehicle with four wheels; usually propelled by an internal combustion engine
  • v. travel in an automobile

Etymologies

French : Greek auto-, auto- + French mobile, mobile (from Old French; see mobile).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French automobile, from Ancient Greek αὐτός (autós, "self") + French mobile ("moving"), from Latin mobilis ("movable"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Before the word automobile entered the lexicon, people talked about horseless carriages.

    John M. Eger: Cyberschools, Cyberlearning Integral to Education's Future

  • And of course we become attached more easily to self moving things and creatures it's a pity the term automobile is taken in a way that is less common with plants and inanimate objects.

    HCI and Human Robot Interaction

  • The fact that Standard Oil made gasoline cheap instead of expensive during the early development of the automobile is the reason we didn't drive battery-electric cars (of which there were more in 1900 than gasoline powered cars) for the last century.

    Tax Cuts for the Rich, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

  • Whilst admiring the ‘immense talent’ of Ballard in transforming a vague, banal terrain into a hallucinatory hell — a feat also achieved in Crash — Griset observes that although Concrete Island may be a continuation of the earlier novel, this time the automobile is a mere symbolic pretext for an examination of the flip-side of our ordered, automated, aseptic lifestyle.

    Ballardian » ‘Content in their little prisons’: J.G. Ballard on ‘The Towers’

  • The mobile lifestyle will disappear but Americans will discover that losing the automobile is a small tragedy compared to losing food.

    Sound Politics: Scenes from Wallingford

  • Could we get to a point where the amount of fossil fuels necessary to recharge the hydrogen battery in a automobile is a lot less than what we currently use in gasoline?

    Waldo Jaquith - Hydrogen is not an energy source.

  • In contemporary Canada the environmentalists tell us the automobile is the bane of the modern world and economists tell us it is at the core of the modern economy.

    The Auto Industry From A Supplier's Perspective

  • When all the businesses related to the automobile are added to the total, the automobile is said to be the source of one out of every six to eight jobs in North America.

    The Chrysler Syndrome

  • So, in a sense, we can consider it a victory for the cause of reason that we have at least established that the automobile is a valuable and essential component of modern life.

    The Promise of Progress in Government-Industry Relations

  • I hesitate to blame the members of the Empire Club for our American trend of trade, but the facts have it that the word automobile crept into our tariff schedule during the very year the Club was formed, and the automobile is in part responsible for our new era.

    Our Trade Channels

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Comments

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  • Oh well, automobile (Out-oh-MO-bee-leh) is the Italian name. Not so amazing to me. I know it originated as carrozza automobile, i.e. "self-moving chariot".

    May 2, 2008

  • Oh, oh...I can hardly wait until it's time to go somewhere!

    May 2, 2008

  • Maybe sometimes I'll say 'motor vehicle' instead, just to shake them up a bit.

    May 2, 2008

  • Me too! I love that idea. It will drive my kids insane!

    May 2, 2008

  • From now on I'm going to make an effort to say automobile instead of car.

    May 2, 2008