Student Dictionary

One entry found for taxicab.
Main Entry: taxi·cab
Pronunciation: primarystresstak-semacron-secondarystresskab
Function: noun
Etymology: from earlier taximeter cab, from French taximètre, literally "tax meter," and English cab, a shortened form of cabriolet "a one-horse carriage"
: an automobile that carries passengers for a fare usually based on the distance traveled
Word History In the days of horse-drawn vehicles, one type of carriage was called a cabriolet, from a French word meaning "leap." This name was fitting since the carriage was so light it bounced or "leaped" about on the rough roads of the time. In time the name cabriolet was shortened to cab. These cabs were popular as vehicles carrying passengers for a fee. They were equipped with a taximeter, a device that automatically recorded the distance traveled and showed what fee or "tax" the passenger owed. In time this carriage or "cab" with its taximeter came to be called a taximeter cab. When the automobile took over from carriages the job of carrying passengers for a fee, it took over the name taximeter cab as well. This name was soon shortened to taxicab, and that was later shortened to taxi and sometimes just cab.

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