A cart is a vehicle designed for transport, using two wheels and normally pulled by one or a pair of draught animals. A handcart is pulled or pushed by one or more people. It is different from a dray or wagon, which is a heavy transport vehicle with four wheels and typically two or more horses, or a carriage, which is used exclusively for transporting humans.
Over time, the term "cart" has come to mean nearly any small conveyance, from shopping carts to golf carts or UTVs, without regard to number of wheels, load carried, or means of propulsion.
The draught animals used for carts may be horses or ponies, mules, oxen, water buffalo or donkeys, or even smaller animals such as goats or large dogs.
A donkey cart used in the Gambia
Cart to carry the victims of the 1813-1814 plaque in Malta, at the Żabbar Sanctuary Museum
Tourist carts in Petra Siq (Jordan)
Carts from different Malay regions, exhibited at the Muzium Negara.
Larger carts may be drawn by animals, such as horses, mules, or oxen. They have been in continuous use since the invention of the wheel, in the 4th millennium BC. Carts may be named for the animal that pulls them, such as horsecart or oxcart. In modern times, horsecarts are used in competition while draft horse showing. A dogcart, however, is usually a cart designed to carry hunting dogs: an open cart with two cross-seats back to back; the dogs could be penned between the rear-facing seat and the back end.
The term "cart" (synonymous in this sense with chair) is also used for various kinds of lightweight, two-wheeled carriages, some of them sprung carts (or spring carts), especially those used as open pleasure or sporting vehicles. They could be drawn by a horse, pony or dog. Examples include:
cocking cart: short-bodied, high, two-wheeled, seat for a groom behind the box; for tandem driving
dead cart to carry victims of the plaque
dogcart: light, usually one horse, commonly two-wheeled and high, two transverse seats set back to back
donkey cart: underslung axle, two lengthwise seats; also called pony cart, tub-cart
float: a dropped axle to give an especially low loadbed, for carrying heavy or unstable items such as milk churns. The name survives today as a milkfloat.
governess cart: light, two-wheeled, entered from the rear, body partly or wholly of wickerwork, seat for two persons along each side; also called governess car, tub-cart
ralli cart: light, two-wheeled, horse-drawn, for two persons facing forward, or four, two facing forward and two rearward. The seat is adjustable fore-and-aft to keep the vehicle balanced for two or four people.
stolkjaerre: two-wheeled, front seat for two, rear seat for the driver; used in Norway
tax cart: spring cart, formerly subject to a small tax in England; also called taxed cart
Whitechapel cart: spring cart, light, two-wheeled, especially for family or light delivery service
Pushcart, a cart that is pushed by one or more persons