Definition of vehicle in US English:



  • 1A thing used for transporting people or goods, especially on land, such as a car, truck, or cart.

    • ‘The council wants to build a car park for 27 vehicles on the land behind the club to encourage shoppers and tourists to spend time in the town.’
    • ‘Landowners are worried about the impact of trail bikes and four-wheel vehicles on their land.’
    • ‘A number of attractions are planned involving transport from vintage vehicles to hot-air balloon rides.’
    • ‘Margaret enjoyed a long life and saw many changes in her lifetime, particularly on the land where machine-driven vehicles replaced much of the manual labour of the past.’
    • ‘First reports to the police indicated three vehicles, including the lorry and Corsa, were involved in the incident.’
    • ‘Officials from the Ministry of Transport want heavy vehicles to also be held to the same low exhaust emission standards as cars.’
    • ‘The Convention, like our Act, deals with vessels, aircraft and land vehicles, but puts them into separate sub-articles.’
    • ‘Company bosses said the payment was because they accepted that they should try to minimise the impact of quarry vehicles where heavy lorries used village roads.’
    • ‘The scheme involves track large enough to take huge trains and wagons, which would carry heavy goods vehicles, taking lorries off the congested motorway system.’
    • ‘So did the early Indo Europeans till the land and possess wheeled vehicles?’
    • ‘Under current conditions, the need has been for small robotic vehicles rather than a vehicle to transport humans.’
    • ‘Many buses and large transport vehicles were sent to evacuate the community.’
    • ‘Possible modes of transport include ambulances, local transport vehicles, military vehicles, helicopters, fixed wing aircraft, and rescue boats.’
    • ‘One part of the terminal is onshore, and land transport vehicles will be unloaded there.’
    • ‘He explained to the Western People that an old dinghy, which has been patched up by his son on the morning of the accident, proved to be the rescue vehicle for the drowning family.’
    • ‘Most of them drive fork lift trucks, farm machinery, heavy goods vehicles, coaches, or buses.’
    • ‘As discussed in the accompanying article, land vehicles such as buses can navigate using dead reckoning.’
    • ‘The purpose of a fire lane is to regulate travel over district land by vehicles such as ambulances, and to provide a means of partial access for private owners.’
    • ‘Checkpoints sprung up on roads and police pulled aside vehicles ranging from hay carts to ribbon - decked wedding cars for checks.’
    • ‘Flatbed trucks transporting armoured vehicles pulled out of another base.’
    • ‘According to police, the two vehicles collided as the lorry turned right into West Street.’
    automobile, motor vehicle, motorized vehicle, means of transport, conveyance, machine
    View synonyms
  • 2A thing used to express, embody, or fulfill something.

    ‘I use paint as a vehicle for my ideas’
    • ‘But if there are no identities, why, in that case, is the struggle for power always a vehicle for instrumentalisation?’
    • ‘‘Without doubt humour is a vehicle for exposing prejudices but I am against jokes that normalise violence,’ Cara says.’
    • ‘Its aim is to act as a vehicle for teenagers to work intensively with professional practitioners in the arts.’
    • ‘But those were explorations of a percussion instrument, not a vehicle for melodic lines.’
    • ‘One is nationalism: the basic force which was the vehicle for the revolutions.’
    • ‘Part of the reason for this is that the federal government's power to accede to international treaties has on occasion been a vehicle for increasing federal power.’
    • ‘Political reform should be sweeping and thorough, not a quick fix as a vehicle for maximizing votes in general elections slated for April, 2004.’
    • ‘The difficulty is compounded by the fact that the basic vehicle for Shankar's classical style of sitar playing is the improvised raga, which might easily extend for half an hour or more.’
    • ‘Instead, they should be viewed as a vehicle for instilling loyalty in the company for the medium to long term, encouraging employees to ride out short - term volatility.’
    • ‘The aim is to promote forestry as a vehicle for rural development, environmental improvement, wild life conservation and the provision of an amenity.’
    • ‘For her, the vehicle for the transformation of the deprived woman into an independent individual and in most cases the breadwinner of the family has been teaching.’
    • ‘And without a doubt, the GOP has merely become a vehicle for unbridled corporate power.’
    • ‘He has previously peppered speeches with claims of being a vehicle for divine power.’
    • ‘Four computer terminals connected to the internet provide the vehicle for people to carry out school work, general internet inquiries, business work and even shopping.’
    • ‘The bare bones instrumentation is a perfect vehicle for her, and her timing and feel are just right.’
    • ‘Handmade beaded lampshades became a vehicle for artistic fulfilment.’
    • ‘And yet none of the current candidates has been capable of becoming the vehicle for those forces.’
    • ‘Wine can either be a way for people to enjoy each other's company with a little heightened intensity, or it can be used as a vehicle for power.’
    • ‘They are alarmed even though religious values are serving more as a brake on cultural reform than a vehicle for overturning the left's past advances.’
    • ‘Our task is surely not to overthrow globalization, but to capture and use it as a vehicle for humanity's first global democratic revolution.’
    channel, medium, means, means of expression, agency, agent, instrument, mechanism, organ, apparatus, structure, machine, machinery
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    1. 2.1 A substance that facilitates the use of a drug, pigment, or other material mixed with it.
      • ‘Such liposomes are in current therapeutic use as vehicles for in-vivo drug delivery.’
      • ‘On the other hand, aerosolized particles that circumvent the blood-brain barrier might someday serve as delivery vehicles for drugs.’
      • ‘The pill is unfortunately too expensive to serve as a food preserver, but researchers are already working on a cheaper nitric oxide vehicle.’
      • ‘The pigments, applied with water as a vehicle, are bound by the carbonation of the slaked lime in the fresh plaster.’
    2. 2.2 The figurative language used in a metaphor, as distinct from the metaphor's subject.
      Often contrasted with tenor (sense 1)
  • 3A movie, television program, song, etc., that is intended to display the leading performer to the best advantage.

    • ‘It might have been, so rumour had it, a film vehicle for those Latino leading ladies Madonna and Jennifer Lopez.’
    • ‘In contrast to the thundering horde on stage in The Crucible, Lotte is a vehicle for one actress, in this case, Zsigovics' spouse, Bobo Vian.’
    • ‘Har Mar, meanwhile, still relatively unknown in this country, has cleverly made the Vladivar ads into a vehicle for selling his own persona as much as the product.’
    • ‘K Street is a natural vehicle for Clooney's talents.’
    • ‘Where these films went wrong and the original Carry On films went right, is that most of the modern crop of British comedy films are star vehicles as opposed to ensemble pieces.’
    • ‘However, the stage has remained his first love and with Jekyll and Hyde, you get the feeling he believes he has found the perfect vehicle for his considerable acting and vocal talents.’
    • ‘The songs are vehicles for James' expressiveness and storytelling.’
    • ‘Coward wrote the comedy as a star vehicle, with no less a man than himself in mind for the central role of Garry Essendine.’
    • ‘Fed up with television executives and studios, the star of Monty Python and Fawlty Towers set up the website last month as a vehicle for his humour and personal philosophy.’


Early 17th century: from French véhicule or Latin vehiculum, from vehere ‘carry’.