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[vee-i-kuh l or, sometimes, vee-hi-] /ˈvi ɪ kəl or, sometimes, ˈvi hɪ-/
any means in or by which someone travels or something is carried or conveyed; a means of conveyance or transport:
a motor vehicle; space vehicles.
a conveyance moving on wheels, runners, tracks, or the like, as a cart, sled, automobile, or tractor.
a means of transmission or passage:
Air is the vehicle of sound.
a carrier, as of infection.
a medium of communication, expression, or display:
The novel is a fitting vehicle for his talents. Language is the vehicle of thought.
Theater, Movies. a play, screenplay, or the like, having a role suited to the talents of and often written for a specific performer.
a means of accomplishing a purpose:
College is a vehicle for success.
Rhetoric. the thing or idea to which the subject of a metaphor is compared, as “rose” in “she is a rose.”.
Compare tenor (def 3).
Pharmacology. a substance, usually fluid, possessing little or no medicinal action, used as a medium for active remedies.
Painting. a liquid, as oil, in which a pigment is mixed before being applied to a surface.
Origin of vehicle
1605-15; < Latin vehiculum, equivalent to veh(ere) to convey + -i- -i- + -culum -cle2
Pronunciation note
Because the primary stress in vehicle is on the first syllable, the
[h] /h/ (Show IPA)
in the second syllable tends to disappear:
[vee-i-kuh l] /ˈvi ɪ kəl/ .
A pronunciation with primary stress on the second syllable and a fully pronounced [h] /h/ is usually considered nonstandard: [vee-hik-uh l] /viˈhɪk əl/ . In the adjective vehicular, where the primary stress is normally on the second syllable, the [h] /h/ is always pronounced. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for vehicle
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • An empty auto stood by the curb, but no other vehicle or person was in sight.

    Polly in New York Lillian Elizabeth Roy
  • In the vehicle in which I drove to the station the kind man had put a basket of food.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • He faced the machines and said, "Destroy the vehicle, draw in the camouflage net, prepare for take-off."

    Stopover Planet Robert E. Gilbert
  • Once our vehicle entered an elevator and was let down a brief distance.

    City of Endless Night Milo Hastings
  • But it was scarcely loose before it jerked the reins away and bounded up to the vehicle.

    Balsamo, The Magician Alexander Dumas
British Dictionary definitions for vehicle


any conveyance in or by which people or objects are transported, esp one fitted with wheels
a medium for the expression, communication, or achievement of ideas, information, power, etc
(pharmacol) a therapeutically inactive substance mixed with the active ingredient to give bulk to a medicine
Also called base. a painting medium, such as oil, in which pigments are suspended
(in the performing arts) a play, musical composition, etc, that enables a particular performer to display his talents
a rocket excluding its payload
Derived Forms
vehicular (vɪˈhɪkjʊlə) adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Latin vehiculum, from vehere to carry
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 vehicle

1610s, "a medium through which a drug or medicine is administered," also "any means of conveying or transmitting," from French véhicule, from Latin vehiculum "means of transport, a vehicle," from vehere "to carry," from PIE *wegh- "to go, transport in a vehicle" (cf. Old English wegan "to carry;" Old Norse vegr, Old High German weg "way;" Middle Dutch wagen "wagon;" see wagon). Sense of "cart or other conveyance" first recorded 1650s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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vehicle in Medicine

vehicle ve·hi·cle (vē'ĭ-kəl)
A substance of no therapeutic value that is used to convey an active medicine for administration.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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