au·​to·​bahn ˈȯ-tō-ˌbän How to pronounce autobahn (audio) ˈau̇- How to pronounce autobahn (audio)
: a German, Swiss, or Austrian expressway

Examples of autobahn in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web These are high-speed autobahn maneuvers—testing can occur at speeds up to 122 mph (200 km/h). Roberto Baldwin, Ars Technica, 26 July 2023 The traffic makes rush hour in Los Angeles seem like the autobahn. Jenn Harris, Los Angeles Times, 1 Sep. 2023 Still, for drivers who draw pleasure from the kind of precision and straight-line stability that come from autobahn breeding, the Golf does fairly well. Tony Swan, Car and Driver, 28 Aug. 2023 Spooling up to 125 miles an hour—on the German autobahn, of course—is utterly effortless in this all-wheel-drive sports car. Peter Robinson, Car and Driver, 23 July 2023 On the unlimited sections of the autobahn, the 5 N cruises along at a drama-free 160 mph with near-perfect on-center steering calibration. David Beard, Car and Driver, 22 June 2023 Even though the autobahn is lauded for its safety when compared with other highways, official figures show that where the autobahn has no speed restrictions, there are 75 percent more accidents involving a death than on stretches that have speed limits., 6 Sep. 2022 Off the autobahn, the Sport Classic still felt very Turbo-esque. Mike Duff, Car and Driver, 19 July 2022 Is there an autobahn in the U.S.? Marc Grasso, Hartford Courant, 8 Oct. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'autobahn.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from German Autobahn, from Auto auto entry 1 + Bahn "path, way, lane," going back to Middle High German ban, bane "cleared path, track," akin to Middle Low German & Middle Dutch bāne in same sense, of uncertain origin

Note: The Germanic etymon represented by Bahn is perhaps akin to Old High German bano "killer, murderer," Old English bana, etc. (see bane entry 1), if both descend from a verb meaning "strike, beat down." See Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Althochdeutschen, Band 1, pp. 460-61.

First Known Use

1934, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of autobahn was in 1934

Dictionary Entries Near autobahn

Cite this Entry

“Autobahn.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

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