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

  • n. A patrol wagon.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A police van for transporting prisoners.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. the close wagon in which prisoners are carried to or from jail.
  • a paddy wagon.

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

  • n. van used by police to transport prisoners
  • n. a form of whist in which players avoid winning tricks containing hearts or the queen of spades


Origin unknown.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Unknown, but first usage is from the 1830's. (Wiktionary)


  • And I fancied myself that I looked the part on a horse called Black Maria

    Bulls of the Speewah

  • "We chose to take part in the festival again because while we do show commercial movies, part of our mission as a theatre is to bring the community new, cutting edge, independent films, and the Black Maria is a great way to do just that."

    Crimson White RSS

  • Engel, a pioneer in experimental animation and one of the artists who worked on the motion picture "Fantasia," said he believed "the Black Maria was the only place for years that he could go to in order to show his films."

    Crimson White RSS

  • It was indeed the Teuton "Black Maria," and we were hurried upstairs to be tumbled into it.

    Sixteen Months in Four German Prisons Wesel, Sennelager, Klingelputz, Ruhleben

  • They thrust him into a cell room, where other prisoners were waiting; and as soon as court had adjourned they led him down with them into the "Black Maria," and drove him away.

    The Jungle

  • By that time, Magee’s device, called the Black Maria, had been tormenting local drivers for three years.

    You Shouldn’t Have

  • The excitement of the cells then awaits them, to be followed by a free ride in "Black Maria," unless "muvver" can pawn something and raise the money, But many mothers cannot do this, others do not trouble; as to

    London's Underworld

  • This is known as "Black Maria," and may be daily seen rumbling through the city on its way from the Police Courts to the ferry to Blackwell's Island.

    Lights and Shadows of New York Life or, the Sights and Sensations of the Great City

  • The Black Maria is to mop up any stray natives flushed out in the search.

    Let The Dead Lie

  • So now it was back to the Black Maria again, with a sullen Pinkerton for company, and the other two in a carriage behind; we were borne swiftly along the waterfront to a quiet quay where a trim little sailing-cutter was waiting, manned by Navy tarpaulins, Pinkerton ushered us aboard, and in no time we were scudding out on to the crowded river, with my curiosity rising by the minute.



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