What Does the Word “Limousine” Mean?

Posted on April 3, 2008 by LCT Magazine

By Jon LeSage

As I was attending the International LCT Show last month, I asked several operators about their fleet status. At one point, it dawned on me that several companies with the word “limousine” in the corporate names have very few stretch limousines left in their fleets. They have a lot of sedans, SUVs, vans, and buses, but not too many stretches – which is opposite the way things used to be in the industry. Stretch limos were the essence of the fleet until Town Car sedans increased substantially in the 1990s and other fleet trends built up speed.

So where does the word “limousine” come from, and what does it mean to this industry? The National Limousine Association uses this word only in its name to describe the business, and many of its members focus much less on stretch limousines in their fleets. But the word still means something important for this industry.

According to the Random House College Dictionary (and Wikipedia), “the word limousine is derived from the name of the French region Limousin and is associated with the long cloaks once worn by the shepherds there.” The idea of limousines being elegant and high class goes back to the word’s origin.

And these days? The Merriam-Webster dictionary offers this definition of the word:

1 : a large luxurious often chauffeur-driven sedan that usually has a glass partition separating the driver's seat from the passenger compartment

2 : a large vehicle for transporting passengers to and from an airport

The first definition does focus on stretch sedans, which is made clear by the glass partition reference. The second definition focuses on airport runs, which has become about half the transaction volume in this industry and has very little to do with stretch limos these days.

A lot of companies in this industry have dropped the word limousine from their corporate names. These days, it’s common to see the words “chauffeur,” “worldwide,” and “transportation” in company names. In the 1990s, the magazine changed its name from Limousine & Chauffeur to Limousine & Chauffeured Transportation to better symbolize the evolving industry. Many companies still use the word limousine in their names and logos, and it probably won’t be going away. And the NLA hasn’t announced plans to change its identity. Hearing the word limousine draws up images of a luxurious, comfortable trip where you don’t have to worry about driving, directions, or traffic – you get to sit back and enjoy the ride.  

View comments or post a comment on this story. (5 Comments)

More LCT Blog Blog Posts

October 1, 2012

Event Management

Don't let your guests down. Here are some things to think about before the event starts.

September 26, 2012

October LCT Mag Focuses On Customer Service

ISSUE PREVIEW: What does he think? What did she really say? Are you channeling your customers? In the October 2012 issue of LCT Magazine, you’ll get a complete primer on how to read and please your
September 26, 2012

Driverless Cars Legalized In California

With no need for people to operate vehicles, how can limo companies adapt to the new world of transportation?
September 26, 2012

Manners Still Matter On Social Media

It has never before been easier for businesses to share information, insight and intimacy with consumers; it has also never been easier to offend them. Read more to learn how to avoid a social media faux pas.
September 20, 2012

My First Encounter With The 2013 Lincoln MKT Town Car

On my trip to Chicago last week for the 2012 BusCon Expo, I had the pleasure of experiencing a new ride — the 2013 MKT Town Car.
See More

Facebook Comments ()

Comments (5)

Post a Comment



See More

See More

See More

See More

LCT Store

LCT Magazine - October 2016 $12.95 COVER STORY: * Leverage Tech To Levitate Your Operations * *


Experience the three annual industry events for networking for business, showcasing vehicles and products, and getting the tools for success.

Read About Your Region

What’s Happening Near You?
Click on any state to see the latest industry news and events in that region.

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment



Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Metro Magazine

Serving the bus and passenger rail industries for more than a century

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

Please sign in or register to .    Close