meat wagon

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meat wagon (plural meat wagons)

  1. (chiefly historical) A vehicle used for the transportation of meat, usually refrigerated and traditionally of a non-motorized type pulled by horses.
    • 1907, "Non-Union Meat Drivers Attacked—Meat Wagon Burned," New York Times, 30 Aug., p. 2:
      The firing of a truck load of meat and two cases of assault enlived the strike of the meat wagon drivers yesterday.
    • 2003, Adams Media & Erik Herman, San Francisco Job Bank, →ISBN:
      He began his career as an itinerant meat wagon driver who sold cut beef to farmers and working-class families along a regular route.
    • 2008, Georgina Gentry, To Wed A Texan, →ISBN:
      She tried not to be flattered, knowing this rake could talk a dog off a meat wagon.
  2. (slang) An ambulance.
    • 2003, Ed Masley,"Cynics' Spain tour ends with injury to lead singer," (Pittsburgh, US), 27 Jan. (retrieved 25 July 2008):
      So they had to take me from there in an ambulance. . . . I remember my dad and uncle used to call them meat wagons.
    • 2012, Thomas Gifford, Kiss Me Once, →ISBN:
      It was a little past ten that night when his nurse, Sylvia of the Bedpans, came tiptoeing in with sleeping pills on a little tray and told him that his friend, Detective Leary, had just been delivered to the emergency room in a meat wagon.
    • 2015, Jack Dower, Deliverance at Diepholz: A POW's Story, →ISBN:
      Most of the time this proved but a temporary respite, and when he was too far gone he went into the meat wagon, at which time he dispossessed the most robust looking of the riders.
  3. (slang) A police van for transporting prisoners; a paddy wagon.
    • 2007, M. Chris Fabricant, "Runnin' Scared Rousting the Cops," Village Voice, 30 Oct. (retrieved 25 July 2008):
      He spent the next four hours in the back of the sweltering NYPD meat wagon as police rounded up other young men.
    • 2015, Brian Garfield, Hopscotch, →ISBN:
      In the middle of each night the gendarmerie's meat wagon made its rounds slowly, its crew stopping by the hunched clochard figures who sprawled in rags on the streets and gutters and doorways of Paris.
    • 2017, Raymond Benson, Paul Dale Anderson, & Brian Hodge, Corruption at the Crossroad:
      I looked over at the man driving the meat wagon in which I was currently a court-required passenger and said, ever the fellow armed with a witty retort: "Huh?"
  4. (slang) A vehicle for transporting dead bodies; a hearse.
    • 2000, Stephen Hunter, "Varicose Vain" (film review of The Crew), Washington Post, 25 Aug., p. C01:
      The old man wandered away from his retirement home, dropped dead on the beach and was picked up by the meat wagon and sent to the morgue.
    • 2010, Steve E. Wright, Bloodline of a Mafia, →ISBN:
      “That's my lieutenant,” said Agent Riley runnin' over to the meat wagon to see the body. When Agent Riley made it over to the meat wagon, he popped open the backdoor of the meat wagon to look at the body.
    • 2014, Benjamin Black, The Black Eyed Blonde: A Philip Marlowe Novel, →ISBN:
      She had even gone out and seen the body being loaded into the meat wagon.