Definition of wagon in US English:


(British waggon)


  • 1A vehicle used for transporting goods or another specified purpose.

    ‘a coal wagon’
    ‘an ammunition wagon’
    • ‘It took 12 wagons to transport one of the immense guns and 24 hours to put it together once its destination was reached.’
    • ‘I would have liked to see each member of the committee drive a livestock wagon for six months before making a report that will affect us all.’
    • ‘The twenty-eight attempted to return to their cars when suddenly they were surrounded by dozens of police cars and wagons.’
    • ‘A driver escaped injury when he jammed his articulated wagon under a low railway bridge in Keighley.’
    • ‘We always clear the roads so that the milk wagons can get to the farms.’
    • ‘They cornered Loudon Lane only to find a coal wagon blocking their way.’
    • ‘This lane has a 7.5-ton restriction which is ignored by all and sundry, especially skip wagons and large vehicles.’
    • ‘Only ammunitions wagons and ambulances were brought up to the immediate rear lines.’
    • ‘By clever design, the same basic Sheppee body could be used as a charabanc to transport passengers or converted into a goods wagon.’
    • ‘Skipton Police have received three complaints of parked cars, delivery wagons and trailers, causing problems for pedestrians and other motorists.’
    • ‘It is a street in an expanding urban area which had been blighted by heavy wagons transporting materials and finished products for a large and noisy industrial operation.’
    • ‘Road sweepers and bin wagons were among the vehicles which attended the final farewell for Eric Saporiti yesterday.’
    • ‘The convoy, which included articulated lorries, skip wagons and even a tractor, was escorted by police as it left Monks Cross at 8am.’
    • ‘Residents have complained about being awoken in the early hours by empty wagons rumbling through the town on their way to the quarries.’
    • ‘Stories abound of coal wagons stripped of half their load by street urchins before a first delivery could be made.’
    • ‘A pall of gloom hangs over the usually bustling market town as sealed container wagons and Army trucks rumble through the streets.’
    • ‘Transport in closed wagons was only permitted on 22 November 1941, at which point there had been permanent frost for over three weeks.’
    • ‘The bridge was damaged by a wagon carrying a low loader about two months ago.’
    • ‘Years ago the refuse wagon had a trailer on the back for waste paper and cardboard.’
    • ‘She said that she had seen wagons and other vehicles mount the pavement as they took the bend, and come dangerously close to ‘clipping’ parents and their children.’
    1. 1.1 A four-wheeled trailer for agricultural use, or a small version of this for use as a child's toy.
      • ‘The barn had a high central alley, tall enough for a threshing machine or a hay wagon.’
      • ‘The boards are each attached with 2 screws onto our hay wagon about one foot apart.’
      • ‘After we had bailed the hay then we would get the long wagons and load the hay.’
      • ‘So he did as he was told and went to the hay barn where the wagon was kept.’
      • ‘Villagers had to use whatever transport was available, including pickup trucks and wagons pulled by tractors.’
      • ‘That's about when she started raising sweet corn and selling it off a wagon at the end of their farm drive.’
      • ‘TJ hopped onto the tractor while the girls climbed into the hay wagon.’
      • ‘The manure spreader is a big wagon pulled behind a tractor.’
      • ‘Each one pulled a hay wagon loaded with all the belongings the families could gather in the few minutes before they were forced to flee.’
      • ‘On a mixed conventional and organic farm, wagons can also be potential vectors for contamination.’
      • ‘There were still a few farms left, hay wagons were as common in the streets as horse drawn beer carts.’
      • ‘Farmers' trucks, which were towing their trailers, had to be immaculate, both inside and out, and the trailers and cattle wagons were cleansed to commercial kitchen standards.’
      • ‘Brent took one truck over to the next field, I took my car over, Steve followed with tractor and wagon.’
      • ‘Aboard the covered harvest wagons, out of the misty air, we wind our way past fields of broccoli, kale and parsley, and stop in the tomato patch.’
      • ‘Side by side they travel, combine and wagon, until the bin on the combine is empty.’
      • ‘Liquids are spread on fields with tank wagons or irrigation.’
      • ‘Our regular bale mover would not lift high enough to load wagons.’
      • ‘This allows added flexibility when hooking up wagons with heavy tongues.’
      • ‘Obviously the Mystery Plays were originally intended to be performed on waggons, and it is good to keep this tradition alive.’
      • ‘Two stories and a side shed provide space for calving heifers, storing wagons, and fixing equipment.’
    2. 1.2 A horse-drawn vehicle, especially a covered wagon used by early settlers in North America and elsewhere.
      • ‘And when the Rocieros arrive with their horses, wagons and high-sprung carriages the image is complete.’
      • ‘They traveled by rail, further by horse-drawn wagons over a steep, rugged mill road that ended at Sempervirens Creek.’
      • ‘Around him, horse-drawn wagons rumbled by, loaded with sacks of flour or crates of dried meat.’
      • ‘He fitted another arrow and fired it purposely into a wagon.’
      • ‘At the Pendleton rally, the stage was decorated with pioneer wagons stuffed with hay.…’
      • ‘One spring when he was hauling some logs, his wagon wheels sank down to the axles in mud.’
      • ‘As I drove I found myself thinking about the settlers who passed through the region by wagon.’
      • ‘Eventually he saw them; the large wooden wagons covered with heavy canvas cloth and drawn by oxen.’
      • ‘At one point, they neared a horse and wagon that had a wheel wedged deep into the earth.’
      • ‘Turning up late for the summer-solstice party at Stonehenge in 2001, he found the only stragglers left were folksy types in horse-drawn wagons.’
      • ‘There was a small, four-wheeled wagon with two llamas already hitched to the tongue.’
      • ‘The fair was just as colourful as always with traditional horse-drawn wagons vying for space with modern caravans.’
      • ‘Up the road a settler's wagon flanked by two horsemen rambled up the roadway; he narrowed his eyes and hitched up the horse to a fast trot.’
      • ‘Not only did the wagon have to carry food supplies and cooking utensils, it had to carry the cowboy bedrolls and other personal items.’
      • ‘Hoof prints riddled the trail in several spots, as well as deep gouges from wagon wheels, and footprints once in a while.’
      • ‘We got to ride the train and go on a horse-drawn wagon.’
      • ‘A cloud of dust rises into the air as horse-drawn wagons filled with farm families head into town.’
      • ‘He stopped speaking, and despite the sound of hooves and wagon wheels echoing in the tunnel, an odd sort of silence enveloped his listeners.’
      • ‘The bureau was now responsible for the inspection of motorized vehicles, as well as horse-drawn wagons.’
      • ‘She felt the wagon being covered, then felt motion as the driver urged the horses on.’
      hackney, hansom, gig, landau, trap, caravan, car
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    3. 1.3North American A wheeled cart or hut used as a food stall.
      • ‘The fish and chip wagons outside the dome.’
      • ‘Mobile food wagons rather than traditional catering facilities are the order of the day.’
      • ‘The cart, disguised as a kerosene peddler's wagon, was suspicious because it had no spigot to dispense fuel.’
      • ‘He wandered around and came to a cook wagon preparing some food.’
    4. 1.4 A small cart or wheeled table used for serving drinks or food.
    5. 1.5 A vehicle like a camper used by gypsies or circus performers.
      • ‘Sullivan stood staring at a colorful gypsy wagon lumbering down a side lane out of sight.’
      • ‘All around them the bandits waited on horseback, except for Calderon who sat on the gypsy wagon's seat whistling a calming melody to his horses.’
      • ‘He then built a big top and circus wagons, which were all painted their trademark ‘Giffords red’.’
      • ‘But in our case, we must not only build a caravan of gypsy wagons with our own two hands - but make an entire sideshow carnival!’
      • ‘Once the council realises its mistake and I'm allowed to stay, I'll get gypsy wagons down here to repair and put on show.’
      covered cart, van
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    6. 1.6informal
      short for station wagon
      • ‘A major recent trend is the popularity of a host of new style occasional four-wheel-drive wagons.’
      • ‘Are sports wagons an antidote to SUVs, or are they a niche unto themselves?’
      • ‘Why aren't more different types of cars - namely hatchbacks, wagons and microcars - more readily available in the U.S.?’
      • ‘On the opposite end of the scale, SUVs are large, heavy lumps that transport people and stuff looking marginally ‘cooler’ than wagons and vans.’
      • ‘Today, 4Matic is available on all Mercedes sedans and wagons.’
      • ‘The lines on the cars are more defined and crisp than on previous Peugeot sedans and wagons.’
      • ‘But to dismiss it as a squashed minivan or tall wagon does not do it justice.’
      • ‘If I'm not snowboarding in it, I'm driving my Suzuki wagon (complete with snow tyres) in it.’
      • ‘My curiosity put me behind the wheel of an SE wagon which I chose over the sportier ZX3.’
      • ‘The 2006 Ford Taurus has been made available as a sedan or a wagon.’
      • ‘Many consumers just preferred the SUV image and fun over the minivan and increasingly didn't even explore wagons.’
      • ‘As I walked away from the Audi wagon, I noticed a couple of SUVs parked nearby.’
      • ‘Exterior styling is a mix between a sports sedan and a luxury wagon, with the seating position of an SUV.’
      • ‘But he didn't answer, simply stumbled into the middle of the road, disrupting the monotonous traverse of the sedans and hatchbacks and wagons.’
      • ‘I certainly see there is plenty of good automotive art in this mix of new models and concept wagons.’
      • ‘Then, as the rev counter swings past 2000 rpm, the wagon surges ahead and acceleration is more like a sporty petrol engine's.’
      • ‘My wife was complaining that her old Volvo wagon was acting up.’
      • ‘Subaru's very good Outback was one of the pioneers, and there are several European all-wheel drive wagons (think Audi and Volvo) for the image conscious.’
      • ‘The front and rear bumper beams are aluminum, as are the hood and the wagon's tailgate.’
      • ‘The roads were snow covered but passable thanks to the cable chains on Edgard's front wheel drive VW wagon.’
    7. 1.7British A railroad freight car.
      • ‘It appears that the deceased was employed shunting coal wagons, and at about the time stated he was in the neighbourhood of the Arley pit with an engine and wagon.’
      • ‘For a long time, the line, its locomotives and wagons was the most reliable inland mode of transport for both passengers and goods.’
      • ‘The North Yorkshire Moors Railway provided a diesel locomotive and goods wagons to ferry water to the scene.’
      • ‘A spokesman for Railtrack's administrators said the train appeared to have been travelling at 75 mph - the maximum speed limit for freight wagons.’
      • ‘The company would also construct a 2.5km rail loop at the rail head for loading wagons and servicing locomotives.’
      • ‘Trains 908m in length, and trailing 62 wagons, started transporting produce through the port last week.’
      • ‘The threatened York rail manufacturer has been thrown a much-needed lifeline by rail freight company EWS, which has ordered a further 220 coal wagons.’
      • ‘His saloon car was written off in the incident and one of the railway wagons suffered axle and chassis damage.’
      • ‘But walk she did, to a train station, where she climbed onto a coal wagon.’
      • ‘Each siding will accommodate a locomotive and wagons capable of transporting 210 vehicles.’
      • ‘Transport officials said one of the rear wagons may have derailed first, pulling others off the line.’
      • ‘Heaps of coal from the shattered freight wagons lay scattered across the line, spilling right up to the very doors of the nearest homes.’
      • ‘The remainder of his working life was spent at the carriage and wagon department at Swindon railway works.’
      • ‘All railway wagons of the kind in the tragedy at Tebay have been removed from service by Network Rail pending its investigation.’
      • ‘Fourteen wagons of timber left the track at Quintinshill, near Gretna, at 9.07 am.’
      • ‘Mr Mantell has lived in Westbury for over 80 years working as a wagon repairer at the railway station since he was a teenager.’
      • ‘I travelled by foot, by hitch-hiking and by clambering onto the wagons of freight trains.’
      • ‘Railtrack said today it would not be in a position until tomorrow to say when the East Coast line would re-open, with several wagons and carriages remaining on the crash site.’
      • ‘The railway has generally scoured Europe for suitable rolling stock and has also acquired some ballast wagons from Romania.’
      • ‘Carriages and passengers were thrown into fields, freight wagons crashed into the gardens of railway cottages, flattening a shed, and ending up less than 20 feet from one of the houses.’
      carriage, compartment, van, pullman
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  • on (or off) the wagon

    • informal (of an alcoholic) abstaining from drinking.

      ‘Agnes was thinking of going on the wagon again’
      • ‘He has pretty much conceded that he drank too much before he turned 40, in 1986, and he has been on the wagon since.’
      • ‘And yet, he's a former alcoholic who's been on the wagon for 12 years.’
      • ‘I usually go on the wagon for January as I am sick of booze after the excesses of December.’
      • ‘After his dark drinking days, O'Neil clambered on the wagon only to find his Dad determined to drag him off.’
      • ‘Jack is an aspiring writer, three months on the wagon after his alcoholism caused family problems.’
      • ‘The legendary drinker said he had cut out alcohol and had Antabuse tablets inserted into his stomach to keep him on the wagon after he was warned that just one more drink could kill him.’
      • ‘But in 1996, he went on the wagon and, as he puts it, ‘started reclaiming the areas of my life I had let fall.’’
      • ‘He is, for now, on the wagon, having recognised he has alcohol and financial problems.’
      • ‘I have this crazy idea in my head that 05/05/05 is going to signal another period of being on the wagon and this time without the aid of drugs.’
      • ‘It's a great cause and I know from my own futile efforts to stay on the wagon, a great gesture from the alcohol loving Smith.’
      sober, teetotal, non-drinking, clear-headed, as sober as a judge
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  • fix someone's wagon

    • Bring about a person's downfall or spoil their chances of success.

      • ‘This should fix his wagon and get him to eat some veggies!’
      • ‘We shall fix his wagon at some stage but for now he's draining my creative juices and Gill's too.’
      • ‘The old soldier, who learned a long time ago to recognize deception and diversion, is gonna fix their wagon.’
      • ‘And since the governor plans to withhold our tax refund an extra month, we'll fix her wagon and file our return a month earlier.’
      • ‘He tells them both that's he gonna fix their wagon for good, and you just know he means it.’
      • ‘Keisha is going to fix his wagon, once and for all.’
      • ‘If you move your car but don't sit in it until 8, the parking officer going up and down the block issuing $50 tickets will fix your wagon.’
      • ‘Until recently, Earl had always called his son Little Ray, but his wife nagged him so much about using just the boy's proper name that he took to calling him Just Ray - just to fix her wagon.’
      • ‘He's off addressing a rally, railing at a do-nothing Legislature, at greedy teachers and nurses, saying he'll fix their wagon with a special election this fall.’
      • ‘Other teams would have the whole summer to find a way to fix his wagon.’
  • off the wagon

    • (of an alcoholic) drinking after a period of abstinence.

      ‘she fell off the wagon two days after making a resolution to quit’
      • ‘The alcoholism came to the fore when Stirling fell off the wagon during a trip to Spain organised by the Scottish Ladies Golf Association at the start of the year.’
      • ‘The star had a liver transplant in 2002 and vowed never to drink again but fell off the wagon last year.’
      • ‘Best, 58, publicly fell off the wagon earlier this year when he was fined £1,500 and banned from driving for 20 months after being convicted of drink-driving.’
      • ‘Cal then proceeds to ‘befriend’ an alcoholic, whom he pushes off the wagon before attempting to seduce his wife.’
      • ‘The album fared miserably on the charts, however, and Zevon again fell off the wagon.’
      • ‘She stood by me when I fell off the wagon and kept me from retreating behind my carefully constructed walls during a mini-meltdown last fall.’
      • ‘In a remarkably frank interview he reveals why he drinks, how he fell off the wagon disastrously this summer, and why the love of his family makes him determined to keep fighting to be sober’
      • ‘As for other stuff, I fell off the wagon for a while, but now I'll happily report that I've jumped back on, and I'll remain entirely sober until my birthday.’
      • ‘On the anniversary of the accident a couple months back she fell off the wagon and decided to stay in the mud.’
      • ‘He went on long benders, landed in detox wards, returned to his studio and soon fell off the wagon again.’


Late 15th century: from Dutch wagen; related to wain.