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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ A white waitress at a drive-in told the couple to park across the street, because they were black.
▪ And new drive-in establishments like banks and fast-food bars are to be banned.
▪ But drive-ins are on the way out.
▪ Just opposite, next to the Church of the Sign, there was a new Wendy's Hamburgers drive-in.
▪ Mrs Stych's mind wandered as the voices droned on and the current film at the local drive-in cinema was condemned.
▪ Terry and I tried to find work at the drive-ins.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

drive-in \drive-in\ n. any installation designed to accommodate patrons while staying in their automobiles; especially an outdoor movie theater in which patrons park in their vehicles to watch the movie.


drive-in \drive-in\ a. arranged to allow business to be transacted while patrons remain in their vehicles; as, a drive-in window at a bank.

Syn: drive-through. [WordNet 1.5]

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

in reference to of restaurants, banks, etc., 1929; from drive (v.) + in. Of movie theaters by 1933 (the year the first one opened, in Camden, N.J.).


a. (context US of an establishment English) Providing service to patrons who remain in their automobiles. n. 1 (context US Australia English) An outdoor cinema where movies are projected onto a large screen and patrons watch from inside their vehicles, listening either by a speaker or a designated radio frequency. 2 (context US English) A drive-through restaurant where patrons remain in their vehicles and order food and beverages via a speaker phone; their meal is delivered to their vehicle.


n. any installation designed to accommodate patrons in their automobiles


A drive-in is a facility (such as a restaurant, movie theater, or church) where one can literally drive in with an automobile for service. At a drive-in restaurant, for example, customers park their vehicles and are usually served by staff who walk or rollerskate out to take orders and return with food, encouraging diners to remain parked while they eat. Drive-in theaters have a large screen and a car parking area for film-goers.

It is usually distinguished from a drive-through, in which drivers line up to make an order at a microphone set up at window height, and then drive to a window where they pay and receive their food. The drivers then take their meals elsewhere to eat. Notably however, during peak periods, patrons may be required to park in a designated parking spot and wait for their food to be directly served to them by an attendant walking to their car, resulting in the perceived relationship between the two service-types. In the German-speaking world, the term is now often used instead of " drive-through" for that kind of service. In Japan, the term refers to a rest area. In France, this term has become popular because of American movies showing that kind of service, and more recently due to the expansion of fast-food restaurants.

The first drive-in restaurant was Kirby's Pig Stand, which opened in Dallas, Texas, in 1921. In North America, drive-in facilities of all types have become less popular since their heyday in the 1950s and 1960s, with drive-throughs rising to prominence since the 1970s and 1980s.

Long Beach, California, 1952.

Drive-In (song)

"Drive-In" is a song written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love for American rock band the Beach Boys. It was released as the tenth track on their 1964 album All Summer Long. It was not originally credited to Love until after a 1990s lawsuit for songwriting credits.

The song was recorded shortly after the release of Little Deuce Coupe in October 1963. An alternate version of "Drive-In", featuring lyrics from " Little Saint Nick", was then recorded but remained unreleased until a 1991 CD reissue.

Drive-in (disambiguation)

Drive-in may refer to:

  • Drive-in, a facility where one can literally drive in with an automobile for service

::* Drive-in theater, a form of cinema structure

::* Drive-in bank, a form of bank structure

  • "Drive-In", a song by The Beach Boys from their 1964 album All Summer Long
  • Drive In (variety show), an Italian television variety show aired from 1983 to 1989
  • Drive-In (film), a 1976 American comedy film directed by Rod Amateau
  • Drive In (That '70s Show episode), a first season episode of the TV series That '70s Show
  • At the Drive-In, an American post-hardcore band
  • " Drive-In Saturday", a David Bowie song from his 1973 album Aladdin Sane
  • Drive-In Massacre, a 1977 American horror film
  • Drive-In Me Crazy, a second season episode of the animation series Kid vs. Kat
Drive-In (film)

Drive-In is a 1976 American comedy film directed by Rod Amateau and written by Bob Peete. The film stars Lisa Lemole, Gary Lee Cavagnaro, Glenn Morshower, Billy Milliken, Lee Newsom and Regan Kee. The film was released on May 26, 1976, by Columbia Pictures.

Usage examples of "drive-in".

The shopping center and highway traffic almost dulled the appassionata at the next-door drive-in.

She had met her first husband while working as a carhop at the Brown Derby Drive-In in Los Feliz in the late 1940s, while still in her teens.

Drive-in Puerto Rico, who informed him that he, Mauricio Galpa, was now sole owner and proprietor of the restaurant.

Giant rectangular antennas, like drive-in movie screens, were erected to intercept microwave signals.

Nancy meanwhile had taken the Volks to get a bag of hamburgers from a nearby drive-in.

Wanda burgers and beer at one of the classier drive-ins, after which they moved on to what the newspapers called a swinging singles bar.

After a short stroll in the park and an early movierated R for raunchy, some godawful rendition of a worse bestseller, that bound itself somehow in Dan's mind with his real-life situation, so that he kept half-expecting the crab-machine to appear on screenhe bought Wanda burgers and beer at one of the classier drive-ins, after which they moved on to what the newspapers called a swinging singles bar.

Trying to keep a conversation going, Baer drove out to Main Street, turned south, and then west on Roosevelt Road, looking for a passable drive-in restaurant.

I was supposed to go to the drive-in Sunday night with Cooter Bogbean, but now I get to prance around a pasture, telling little old ladies where to sit and trying not to throw up when people start babbling about the Holy Spirit.

While the Cincinnati and Columbus areas were still reeling from the new competition, Frisch's moved into Indianapolis and Louisville where it avoided directly competing with existing White Castles, instead focusing on the growing suburban markets and building drive-ins near new shopping plazas and supermarkets.

Through my dad's old binoculars I could clearly see how Pickett's troops had advanced from the direction of the town, a mile or so to the north, sweeping across the Burger King parking lot, skirting the Tastee Delite Drive-In and regrouping just outside the Crap-o-Rama Wax Museum and Gift Shop.

I'm pretty sure almost positive, actually that a lot of Seth's 'strange powers' have a very short range, like the radio transmitters they used to have at the drive-ins, the ones that piped the movie sound directly into your car radio.

Tonight we had Andy Fulcher sit the big kids while Tab & I & Owen went to the Bridgton Drive-In.

Though it looked like the screen from an old drive-in theater, it was in fact a massive version of the solid-state radar array used by the Japanese E-767s, or for that matter the Aegis cruisers and destroyers in both contending navies.

A bowling alley or drive-in movie theater would have been most welcome.