When I need a taxi, I need to say “打的” instead of "打车"。
So what is the meaning of "的"？How to understand "的"?
When can I use it?
You can say "打车". Whether to use "打的" or "打车" might be only personal/regional preference.
Here 的 is pronounced as di1 , and it shorten from "的士" which means taxi.
Currently I can think of only a few words which uses this meaning of "的": 打的, 的士, 的哥(male taxi driver), etc。
 My dictionary says the pronunciation is di2. While in everyday life (in Beijing), what I hear and use is di1.
If I remember right, the word is borrowed from Cantonese at 80s. Then it gradually be accepted by the other areas in China.
打的 means 打的士, 的士 is transliteration for taxi in Cantonese.
In mainland, we call 打车.
的 is short for 的士, and 的士 is the translation of taxi in pronounce, which comes from Cantonese. The original should be 搭车 or 搭的士. When it comes to mainland China, 搭 changes to 打, so if you need a taxi, you just say 打的.
If you say 打车, we can also understand you need a taxi.