Definition of Black Maria in US English:

Black Maria


  • A police vehicle for transporting prisoners.

    • ‘On arrival at Leeds station they were met by a Black Maria which would carry them to Leeds Town Hall where the trial was to be held.’
    • ‘The jury comes back within five minutes, the judge dons a black cap, and the defendants commence with a thin chorus of ‘You're going home in a Black Maria.’’
    • ‘A short, mutton-chopped cop grabbed his sleeve and pushed him toward the open doors of a Black Maria.’


Mid 19th century (originally US): said to be named after a black woman, Maria Lee, who kept a boarding house in Boston and helped police in escorting drunk and disorderly customers to jail.


Black Maria

/ˌblæk məˈraɪə//ˌblak məˈrīə/