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[han-suh m] /ˈhæn səm/
a low-hung, two-wheeled, covered vehicle drawn by one horse, for two passengers, with the driver being mounted on an elevated seat behind and the reins running over the roof.
any similar horse-drawn vehicle.
Also called hansom cab.
Origin of hansom
1850-55; named after J. A. Hansom (1803-82), English architect who designed it Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for hansom
Historical Examples
  • A sound of wheels turning in at the lodge-gates—it is Maurice's hansom.

    Vera Nevill Mrs. H. Lovett Cameron
  • He saw Richford in the distance entering a hansom; he called one himself.

    The Slave of Silence Fred M. White
  • At that moment Agnes drove up in a hansom; she ran up the little garden, and carried out Evelyn's bag and placed it in the hansom.

    Evelyn Innes George Moore
  • Savile, feeling very grown-up, drove Dolly back in a hansom.

    The Twelfth Hour Ada Leverson
  • Arrived there, however, I deposited my luggage in the cloak-room and drove back to Claridge's in a hansom.

    The Lost Ambassador E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • She knew that, even more than the hansom, their 'get up' had given them away.

    The Convert Elizabeth Robins
  • It was in the Fullham Road that we glided close behind a hansom bowling along at a rattling pace.

    The Princess Passes Alice Muriel Williamson and Charles Norris Williamson
  • They passed out on to the pavement, and the commissionaire called a hansom.

    Anna the Adventuress E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • Then he got into a hansom and drove up to the house in the Edgware Road.

    Sunrise William Black
  • She slipped on her cloak and stepped into the hansom with him.

    Anna the Adventuress E. Phillips Oppenheim
British Dictionary definitions for hansom


(sometimes capital) a two-wheeled one-horse carriage with a fixed hood. The driver sits on a high outside seat at the rear Also called hansom cab
Word Origin
C19: short for hansom cab, named after its designer J. A. Hansom (1803–82)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hansom

"two-wheeled, two-person cab," 1847, from James A. Hansom (1803-1882), English architect who designed such a vehicle c.1834.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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