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

  • n. A light carriage with two or four low wheels and a collapsible top.
  • n. A top for this or a similar carriage.
  • n. A woman's folding bonnet of the late 18th century.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A sort of light 'convertible' carriage with a folding hood.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A light carriage with low wheels, having a top or hood that can be raised or lowered, seats for inside, a separate seat for the driver, and often a movable front, so that it can be used as either an open or a closed carriage.
  • n. In Canada, a two-wheeled, one-seated vehicle, with a calash top, and the driver's seat elevated in front.
  • n. A hood or top of a carriage which can be thrown back at pleasure.
  • n. A hood, formerly worn by ladies, which could be drawn forward or thrown back like the top of a carriage.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To furnish with a calash.
  • n. A light carriage with low wheels, either open or covered with a folding top which can be let down at pleasure.
  • n. The folding hood or top usually fitted to such a carriage. Specifically called a calash-top.—3. A hood in the form of a calash-top worn by women in the eighteenth century and until about 1810.
  • n. A primitive one-horse springless cart of the island of Nantucket, Massachusetts, house-chairs being used for seats. It is still used to a limited extent.

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

  • n. the folding hood of a horse-drawn carriage
  • n. a woman's large folded hooped hood; worn in the 18th century


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

French calèche, from German Kalesche, from Czech kolesa, from pl. of kolo, koles-, wheel, from Old Church Slavonic.



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  • Well, I knew what this word meant in 2008 but had since forgotten. Rediscovered it today, thus:

    "Certainly one finds the most and greatest elegance on Tauentzienstrasse; the Kurfürstendamm is delightful with its trees and calashes."

    Berlin Stories by Robert Walser, translated by Susan Bernofsky, p 19 of the NYRB paperback

    May 8, 2012

  • David Crystal writes of a toll-board sign in Porthmadog in Wales from the early nineteenth century, which begins thus: "For every Horse or other Beast of Draught drawing any Coach, Sociable, Berlin, Landau, Chariot, Vis-a-Vis, Chaise, Calash, Chais-marine, Curricle, Chair, Gig, Whisky, Caravan, Hearse, Litter, Waggon, Wain, Cart, Dray, or other Carriage, any Sum not exceeding One Shilling:"

    (By Hook or By Crook, p 38)

    December 15, 2008

  • Or... "Two-wheeled, horse-drawn carts known as calashes continually came and went."

    --Nathaniel Philbrick, In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex, 2

    May 1, 2008

  • Looks like this.

    November 14, 2007