Where does the word “Runabout” come from and What does Runabout mean?

Many teens drive convertibles. But some prefer roadsters.

Not too long ago, the automobile body style of equivalent popularity to these was the runabout, but in his father’s youth, the runabout was a light, horse-drawn vehicle.

All of these are, or were, handy means of transportation for the driver with, perhaps, one or two passengers.

But here, again, we have an example of changing meaning for a long-established word, for ever since the fourteenth century a runabout has also meant a footloose wanderer, a vagabond, or tramp, having been used in Piers Plowman in this sense.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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