Where the Word “Taxi” Comes From

The name “taxi” is obviously shortened from “taxicab”, which is derived from the two words: “taximeter” and “cabriolet”.  The taximeter was invented in 1891 and is used to record distances and calculate the fare.  Cabriolet refers to a horse drawn carriage where the driver stands in the back of the carriage. The name “taximeter” itself is derived from the Mid-Latin “taxa”, meaning “tax or charge”.  The first documented use of the word “taxicab” was in March of 1907 in London.  Another phrase that derived from taximeter was a “taxi dancer”, which was a woman who sold her services at dance halls.

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5 comments

  • Sorry but you are so wrong. The first transport by horse carriage from town to town was introduced by an earl of the name taxis. The word derives from that time, around 1750

    • The Greek word “taxis” can convey the idea of “sequence” or “order”, i.e. “I went from point A to point B, and on to point C”. Hence, it was properly applied to the “taxi” as a transport vehicle.

  • Sorry Helmut but you are so wrong. The word taxi comes from the Ancient Greek “superciliously rude and wrong at the same time”.

  • Actually Helmut may be right.. as far back as the 14th century a group of families from the Northern Italy mountains were renowned as messengers and they were known as tassi from their practice of putting badger (latin = tasso) pelts over their horses heads to protect from whipping tree branches and from falling stones in the mountain passes. By the 16th and 17th centures they became the postmen across Europe and their name had been germanised into von taxis.

    • The word “taxi” is short for the Greek word “taxidi” which means a trip. When one says in Greek that he is going to go on a taxidi he is saying that he is going on a trip. When he calls for a taxi he is calling for a trip to some destination. The word should not be confused with the Greek word “taxis” which means order, thus a taxidermist is one who arranges or puts in order skin or hide.

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