from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

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

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Self-moving.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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. ; ; ; ; ;
  • To ride in an automobile vehicle.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb to travel in an automobile.
  • noun 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.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun US, Canada 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.
  • verb dated To travel by automobile.

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

  • noun a motor vehicle with four wheels; usually propelled by an internal combustion engine
  • verb travel in an automobile


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

[French : Greek auto-, auto- + French mobile, mobile (from Old French; see mobile).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French automobile, from Ancient Greek αὐτός (autós, "self") + French mobile ("moving"), from Latin mobilis ("movable").


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

    May 2, 2008

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

    May 2, 2008

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

    May 2, 2008

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

    May 2, 2008

  • 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