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Mapping Out The History Of The Word Car

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The Many Expressions & Manifestations of the word 'Car' across the World - Want to find out how it's known as?

How do you refer to the simple word, car in Spanish? Or how is it known in Vietnamese? Are these words close to the original word, Car? Or are they way different, sounds strange, unusual, and funny? Want to know how the car is known in Thailand? Or how about the Swedish name for Car? Yes. Our friendly, simple English word, 'Car' is definitely known in different ways and forms in different parts of the world, in diverse languages and is sometimes, no way close to its universal representation, 'Car'.

Mapping out the History of the word Car

Tracing the originations of the word 'Car', it is said to have originated from the Latin word, 'Carrus' or 'Carrum' which indicated a vehicle with wheels. The word also finds its origins from the Middle English or from the Old North French word, 'Carre', which meant a cart. It could also have taken a reference from the Gaulish word, 'Karros' which meant a Gallic Chariot.

The word 'Motor car' first came about in 1895, which was then the formal British name for cars. The word 'Auto car' is also a variant that originated then, but is not in usage as much. These words meant a self-propelled car or even a horseless carriage.

The other popularly used word, which is also used to represent a car, is the 'automobile'. This two-word combination is taken from the Ancient Greek word, 'Autós' which meant 'self' and from the Latin word 'mobilis', which meant 'movable'. It was adapted into the English language in 1897 and it was widely used. Today, the word is more popular in the US. In the UK, the popular terminology is motor car. Also the abbreviated version, 'auto' is also much in use.

Car and its Representations in Europe

As we take a tour of the different places and countries, let's start off with the European countries and learn how they refer to your car. Well, in French it is known as, 'Voiture'. Contrasting isn't it? In Greek, it is known as the Aftokínito. In Spanish, it is known as Coche, in Catalan it is a Coxte and in the neighboring Portugal, it is known as Carro in the Portuguese language. It is a Samochód in Polish, a Mașină in Romanian, and hold your breath, it is a Bil in Swedish, Danish and Norwegian languages.

The Dutch, the Germans, the Italians, the Finnish, and the Czech, stayed close to the original and didn't deviate even a bit, stuck to its universally appealing word, the 'Auto'. Even in Slovak, Estonia and Latvia, it is simply known as 'Auto'. In Hungarian too, it is Autó with an accent. In Serbia it is an 'Ayto' and in Slovenia it is an 'Avto'. In Ireland, it is a 'carr' with an extra 'r' and the Welsh stuck to the original, 'car'.

In Basque, it is the word 'auto' with a slight variation, 'autoa'. In Albania, it is known as a makinë, a variation of machine, maybe? In Bosnia and Croatia it is known as an Automobil, and in Bulgaria it is a 'Kola'. In Malta it is Karoza, in Macedonia, it is Avtomobil and in Belarusian, it is another variation of automobile, Aŭtamabiĺ.

Know a Car in India and Parts of Asia

Well, what is it in India and her neighboring countries? Well, India being a land of diverse languages, in Hindi it is a 'Gaadi' and in Bengali with a slight variation, it is a 'Gāṛī '. In Urdu, it is again, Gaari. In the other Indian languages like Malayalam and Tamil, it is a 'car'. In Punjabi, Marathi, and Gujarati, it is a Kāra. And in Kannada and Telugu, it is a colloquially spelt, 'kaaru'.

In Sri Lanka, in the Sinhalese language, it is an interesting representation, it is known as the 'mōṭar ratha'. In Nepal, it is simply, a Kāra. In Burma, it is another variant, 'karr'.

And how is a 'Car' represented in a couple other Asian countries? In Indonesia, it is a mobil, in Mongolia, it is a Mashin, in Cambodia, it is Rothayon, in Vietnam it is a Xe Hơi and in the tiny place of Hmong it is Tsheb. In Korea, it is a Cha, in Malaysia, it is a Kereta, in Laos, it is a Rōt, and in Philippines it is a Kotse. In Thailand, it is a quirky Rt̄h, in Japan it is a Kuruma and in China, it is a Qìchē!

Across Africa, how do you say Car?

And now moving over to the African continent, again, a land of much diversity, with many languages and cultures, the car in Somalia is interestingly known as the Baabuur. In the Swahili language common across the African countries of Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya, it is a Gari. In the Afrikaans language, common across Namibia and South Africa it is simply a Motor. In the Zulu language, it is a Car, in the South African, Sesotho language it is a Koloi, in the Nigerian language, Igbo, it is a ụgbọ ala. In the Afro-Asiatic language, Hausa, it is a Mota. It is a Galimoto in the Bantu language, Chichewa. This is common across parts of Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Mozambique. In the Congo valley spoken, Yoruba, it is an Okọ ayọkẹlẹ.

How do you Spell Car in the Middle East and Russia?

In the Middle East, in Turkey the car is known as Araba, and in the Arabic language it is a Sayara. In Hebrew, it is a Mechonit and in Yiddish, it is a Mashin. And in Persian, it is a Mâšin.
Moving over to Russia and neighboring countries, in Ukraine, Russia, Uzbek, and Azerbaijan, the car is referred to as the avtomobil. In Lithuania, it is known as Automobilis. In Russia, it is also referred to as Mashina. In countries like Tajik and Kazakh, in small variations, it is known as Moşin and Maşïna respectively. In Armenia it is Avtomek'yena and in Georgia it is Mank'anis and last but not the least, In Iceland, it is Bíll. And in Haiti, it is known as the Machin.

What do we infer?

So now you know, a Car is just not Car everywhere! Languages are different, but interestingly, many languages have adapted and used interesting variations of the word 'Car'. And the word automobile too finds its many representations across geographies and languages. The shorter forms, 'auto,' and 'mobile' does find its place in an assorted mix. And not to miss, the car is thought of as a machine and its variations are found in so many different forms across languages and countries. And common across a couple Asian languages is the word 'rath' which colloquially means 'chariot'. Also the word 'gaadi' or 'gaari' finds similar representations in many languages.

What a revelation! Indeed an Eye-opener! And Yes! You learnt something isn't it?

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