New Truckers Guide to Trucker Lingo (Trucker Slang) | eCapital (2024)

Trucking is a distinct culture with alifestyleand language all on its own. The terminology, lingo, and slang common to veterans of the industry are like a secret language to the general population. Technically called anargot, this sublanguage may sound hilarious to the uninitiated, but it’s an effective form of communication for the road warriors that keep our nation’s economy moving.

The trucking language or trucker lingo was popularized during the golden age of CB radios in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Famous movies like “Smokey and the Bandit,” “Beaker, Breaker” and “Convoy” elevated the colorful lingo to become a favorite language people tried to imitate. Few members of the general population knew the meaning behind the words they uttered, but it was sure fun to speak the speak.

CB radios arestill in usetoday, as are smartphones and social media. All these channels are alive with trucking lingo – well known and understood by the old timers, but rookie truckers often have difficulty deciphering the language. If another trucker on the CB radio says, “Ya got the one Kansas drifter wall to wall and tree top tall. I’m 10 and listening in settin the side. We gone.” do you know that he really means “Kansas Drifter has a big CB radio with lots of power and range and I’m just listening.”

Knowing trucker lingo is part of the truckers’ culture. This guide is essential knowledge for truckers, but even non-truckers should get a kick out of it.

Term/Lingo

Definition

Alabama ChromeDuct tapeAll locked upThe nearby weigh station is closed.AnteaterThis is referring to the Kenworth T-600; this truck was named due to its sloped hood, and was one of the first trucks with an aerodynamic design. Also known as an aardvark.AlligatorA piece of tire on the road, generally a recap from a blown tire, which can look like an alligator lying on the road. A baby alligator is a small piece of tire, and alligator bait is several small tire pieces. occasionally called just a “gator”.Alligator RadioLoudmouth CB’er (all mouth, no ears)At your back doorSomething’s behind you.Baby BearA rookie law enforcement officerBack Door ClosedPolice behind you or behind a convoyBack it downSlow down.Backed out of itNo longer able to maintain speed, necessitating a need to downshift. When a truck’s climbing a steep incline, and for whatever reason, the driver has to let up off of the accelerator, he’ll lose whatever momentum he had and have to downshift. “I’m backed out of it now, I’ll have to get over into the slow lane.”Back rowThe last rows of parking in a truck stop.BackslideOn the return tripBambiA deer, dead or alive.Band-aid BuggyAmbulanceBase station or unitA CB radio set in a stationary location.Bean PopperPill takerBearA law enforcement officer at any level, but usually a State Trooper, Highway Patrol.Bear baitA speeding vehicle, usually a four-wheeler, which can be used to protect the other speeding vehicles behind it.Bear biteA speeding ticket.Bear den or bear caveLaw enforcement headquarters, station.Bear in the airA law enforcement aircraft which can be monitoring the traffic and speeds below.Bear in the bushesLaw enforcement (at any level) is hiding somewhere, probably with a radar gun aimed at traffic.Belly DumperA trailer with a bottom dumpBilly Big RiggerA trucker who brags about himself, or his big, fast, shiny truck.BedbuggerCan refer to a household moving company or to the household mover himself.Big RA Roadway truck.Big truckRefers to an 18-wheeler or tractor-trailer. “Come on over, big truck”.Bird dogA radar detector.Big wordClosed, when referring to weigh stations. There is often a big sign preceding the weigh station indicating whether the station is open or closed, in bright lights. From a distance, you can’t tell what the word says, but you can usually tell whether it’s a big word or small word. So, when you hear “the big word is out”, you’ll know that the weigh station is closed.Black eyeA truck with a headlight out.Blew my doors offPassed at a high speedBobtailDriving the tractor only, without the trailer attached.BoogieThe top gear (the highest gear) of the transmission.BoulevardThe Interstate.Brake checkThere is a traffic tie-up ahead, which will require immediate slowing down or stopping. “You’ve gotta brake check ahead of you, eastbound”.BreakIf the radio’s busy, saying “break-19” is the proper way to gain access to the channel, and begin talking.Breaking upYour signal is weak, or fading.Brush your teeth and comb your hairLaw enforcement is shooting vehicles with a radar gun.BubbaWhat you call another trucker, often in a kidding way.Bull dogA Mack truck.Bull frogAn ABF truck.Bull haulerA livestock hauler.Bumper stickerA vehicle that’s tailgating. Sometimes referred to as a “hitchhiker “.Bundled outLoaded heavy, or to maximum capacity.BushelsWeight of load in 1000’s (i.e. 43 bushels = 43,000 pounds)Buster BrownA UPS truck or driver.CabbageA steep mountain grade in Oregon.CaboverAbbreviated term for Cab-Over-the Engine (COE) type of tractor.Cash registerA tollbooth.CB RamboA wannabe tough guy on the CB RadioChecking ground pressureThe weigh station is open, and they’re running trucks across the scales (see “running you across”).Cheese WagonA yellow schoolbusChicken coopA weigh station, often called just a “coop”.Chicken lightsDecorative marker lights on truck and/or trailerChicken hauler or truckA big, fancy truck; a large, conventional tractor with a lot of lights and chrome. Also, one who hauls live chickens.Choke-n-PukeA greasy spoon restaurantCity kittyA local law enforcement officerCoal bucketA dump trailerComedianThe median strip in between opposite lanes of traffic.ContainerRefers to an overseas container; intermodal transportation.Come-a-part engineCummins engine.Come backAn invitation for the other driver to talk. Sometimes used when you couldn’t hear the last transmission, “comeback, I didn’t hear you”.Come onTelling another driver that you hear him calling you, and to go ahead and talk. “Yeah driver, come on”.Comic bookA drivers log book.ConvoyA group of trucks traveling together.CopyTransmission acknowledged, agreed with, or understood, as in “copy that, driver”.CornflakeRefers to a Consolidated Freightways truck.County MountieCounty police, often a sheriff’s deputy.Covered wagonA flatbed trailer with staked sides covered with tarpaulinCrackerheadA derogatory term; insult.Crotch rocketA motorcycle built for speed; not a Harley-Davidson.Curtain SiderTrailer similar to a box trailer except that the sides are movable curtains.DeadheadPulling an empty trailer.DestructionRoad construction.Diesel carA semi- tractor.Diesel copA DOT, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement officer.Dispatcher BrainsLight or empty loadDonkeyBehind you.Double nickel55 mph.DoublesRefers to a set of double trailers.Drawing linesCompleting your log bookDriving awardA speeding ticket.DownstrokeDriving downwards, downhill, on a decline.Dragon wagonA tow truck.DragonflyA truck with no power, especially going uphill.Dry boxAn unrefrigerated, freight trailer. Also considered a dry van18-wheelerAny tractor-trailer.85th StreetInterstate 85.Evel KnievelA law enforcement officer on a motorcycle.EyeballTo see something.Feeding the bearsPaying a ticket or citation.FingerprintTo unload a trailer by yourself.Flip-flopRefers to a u-turn, or a return trip.Flying HookPilot Flying J Truck StopFMAn AM-FM radio.42Yes, or OK.Four-letter wordOpen; referring to weigh stations being open or closed.4-wheelerAny passenger vehicle; cars or pickups.Freight shakerA Freightliner truck.Front doorIn front of you.Full-grown bearState Trooper, or Highway Patrol.Garbage haulerA produce load, or produce haulers.Gear JammerA driver who speeds up and slows down with great frequency.General mess of crapA GMC truckGeorgia overdrivePutting the transmission into neutral on a downgrade, to go extremely fast. Definitely not recommended!Go-go juiceDiesel fuel.Good buddyThis used to be the thing to say: “10-4, good buddy”. Not anymore, as this calling someone a hom*osexual.Good neighborUsually used when you’re showing appreciation to another driver, as in “thank you, good neighbor”.Got my nightgown onI’m in the sleeper, and ready to go to sleep.Go to companyWhen you tell another driver from your company to go to the designated company CB channel. Drivers do this so that they can talk about company business or personal matters without monopolizing channel 19.Go to the HarleyTurn your CB to channel 1.Got your ears on?Are you listeningGouge on itGo fast, put the throttle to the floor, step on it, etc.Granny laneThe right, slower lane on a multi-lane highway, or on the Interstate.GreasyIcy, or slippery.Greasy spoonA cheap restaurantGreasy side upA vehicle that’s flipped over.Green StampsMoney.Grossed outYour gross vehicle weight is at maximum capacity; commonly 80,000 pounds.Ground pressureThe weight of your truck, as in “the scale’s testing your ground pressure”.Gumball machineThe lights on top of a patrol car.Hammer downGo fast, step on it.Hammer laneThe left, passing lane of traffic.Handle (CB handle)The FCC encourages the use of CB handles. CB handles are nicknames which are used to identify the speaker, in place of on actual name. A driver often selects his own handle, one that he feels reflects his personality, or describes his way of driving.Happy happyHappy new year; “Have a happy happy, driver”.Happy hookerA tow truck hauling a truck.Having “shutter trouble”Having trouble keeping awake.Ho Chi Minh TrailRefers to California Highway 152, known for its abundance of accidents.Hole in the wallMountain tunnel entranceHollerCall me on the radio, as in “give me a holler when you get back”.Home 20A driver’s home location.HoodA conventional tractor, as opposed to a cab-over.Hundred dollar lane, high dollar laneIn certain heavily populated areas, trucks will be prohibited from driving in the far left lane, with a heavy fine for violators. This term refers to that prohibited lane.JackpotSame as gumball machine, refers to a patrol car’s lights.Key downWhen you talk over somebody who’s trying to transmit. A bigger, more powerful radio can easily drown out a lesser one.Key upPushing the transmit button on the CB Mic. “Key up for about 20 minutes, and tell me how bad you are”.In my back pocketBehind you; a place you’ve passed.In the big holeThe top gear of the transmission.K-whopperA Kenworth tractor, or just KW.Kojak with a KodakLaw enforcement using a radar gun.Land lineA stationary telephone; not a cellular-phone.Large carA conventional tractor, often with a big sleeper, lots of chrome and lights, etc.Left CoastThe West Coast.Local informationA driver asks for local information when he needs directions in area he’s unfamiliar with.Local-yokelA county, city, or small-town officer.LollipopThe small reflector or marker poles on the sides of the highway.LumperCasual labor that loads or unloads your trailer, often requiring payment in cash.Mash your motorGo fast, step on it. Same as gouge on it and hammer down.Meat wagonAn ambulance.Merry merryMerry Christmas.Motion lotionDiesel fuel.Moving onHeading down the road.Mud duckA weak radio signal.NegatoryNegative or no.95th StreetInterstate 95.On the sideOn standby.OvalheadPeterbilt owner; FanParking lotAn auto transporter, often used when the trailer is empty.Pay the water billTaking a rest room break.PetePeterbilt TruckPigtailThe electrical connection from the tractor to the trailer.Plain wrapperAn unmarked law enforcement vehicle, usually said with color added as a description: “you’ve got a plain brown wrapper on your back door”.Plenty of protectionUsually means there’s plenty of police in the area, but I’ve heard it used to tell drivers to go ahead and step on it because there’s speeding four-wheelers ahead blocking or covering for them.Pogo stickUsually a metal, flexible support located on the tractor catwalk, that holds up the connections to the trailer.Pole CatSkunkPower upGo faster, speed up.PreeshayditThank you, I appreciate it.PumpkinA Schneider truck, because of its orange color.RadioA CB radio.Radio checkHow’s my radio working, transmitting, getting out there.RamboSomeone who talks really tough on the radio, especially when no one else knows where they are.Ratchet jawSomeone who talks a lot on the radio, while keying-up the whole time and not letting anyone else get a chance to talk.Reading the mailNot talking; just listening to the radio.ReeferUsually refers to refrigerated van trailer, but sometimes just to the reefer unit itself.Rest-a-ree-aAnother way to say rest area.Road pizzaRoadkill on the side of the road.Rocking chairA truck that’s in the middle of two other trucks.RogerYes; affirmative.Roger beepAn audible beep that sounds when a person has un-keyed the mike, and finished his transmission. Used on only a small percentage of radios, and not recommended.Roller skateAny small car.Rooster cruiserA big, fancy truck; a large, conventional tractor with a lot of lights and chrome.Runnin’you acrossThe weigh station is open, and they’re weighing trucks, probably in a quick fashion.Salt shakerThe snowplows that dump salt or sand on the highways in the winter.SandbaggingTo listen to the radio without talking; also “readin’ the mail”.Sailboat FuelEmpty truck; hauling nothing but airSandboxAn escape ramp, which sometimes uses sand to stop vehicles.Schneider eggsThe orange cones in construction areas.Seat coverSometimes used to describe drivers or passengers of four-wheelers.Sesame StreetChannel 19 on the CB.ShakyRefers to California in general, sometimes Los Angeles, and, occasionally, San Francisco.Shiny side upYour vehicle hasn’t flipped over after a rollover or accident. “Keep the shiny side up” means to have a safe trip.Shooting you in the backYou’re being shot with a radar gun as your vehicle passes a law enforcement vehicle.Short shortA short amount of time.ShutdownPut out of service by the DOT because of some violation.Sleeper creeperA prostitute; same as a lot lizard.SkateboardA flatbed, or flatbed trailer.SkinsTires.Smokin’ scooterA law enforcement officer on a motorcycle.Smokin’ the brakesThe trailer brakes are literally smoking from overuse down a mountain grade.Smokey or Smokey BearA law enforcement officer, usually highway patrol.SplitA junction, where the road goes in separate directions.Spy in the skyA law enforcement aircraft, same as a “bear in the air”.StagecoachA tour bus.Stand on itStep on it, go faster.SwingingCarrying a load of swinging meat.Taking picturesLaw enforcement using a radar gun.10-4OK, message received. Some drivers just say “10”.Thermos bottleA tanker trailer.Through the woodsLeaving the Interstate to travel secondary roads.Throwing ironTo put on snow tire chains.Too many eggs in the basketOverweight load or gross weight.ToothpicksA load of lumber.Travel agentThe dispatcher, or sometimes a broker.Triple digitsOver 100 mph.VWA Volvo-White tractor.WagonSome drivers refer to their trailer as a wagon.Walked on youDrowned out your transmission by keying up at the same time.Wally worldWal-Mart (the store or the distribution center), or a Wal-Mart truck.West Coast turnaroundsUppers; speed or Benzedrine pills; the idea is that a driver can drive from the East Coast to the West Coast, and back again without having to sleep. Obviously illegal!!Wiggle wagonsA set of double or triple trailers.YardA company terminal, drop lot, etc.YardstickA mile marker on the highway.
See Also
Lot Lizards

Times have changed, and technology has advanced. The CB radio may not be used as much today as in the past, but the language it popularized continues. If you’re in the trucking industry, you should already know the basic CB-10 codes and trucker names for cities, but if you’re not up to date on your trucker lingo or trucker slang, be sure to study this guide to CB radio lingo and trucker slang.

Just like the CB radio advanced and popularized trucker lingo, so has technology advanced truckers’ access to working capital. Invoice factoring is now a mainstream cash flow solution allowing trucking companies to deliver a load and get paid in minutes. Having money transferred into your business account the instant your invoices are submitted and approved for financing is a cultural shift changing the industry. If you’re not already familiar with this powerful cash flow solution, you should be. You’ll probably hear it talked about across the many channels in English, Spanish, Punjabi, and even in trucker’s lingo.

Here’s a tip: invoice factoring designed explicitly for truckers is calledfreight factoring.

eCapital Corp

New Truckers Guide to Trucker Lingo (Trucker Slang) | eCapital (1)

eCapital Corp. is committed to supporting small and middle-market companies in the United States, Canada, and the UK by accelerating their access to capital through financial solutions like invoice factoring, factoring lines of credit, asset-based lending and equipment refinancing. Headquartered in Miami, Florida, eCapital is an innovative leader in providing flexible, customized cash flow to businesses. For more information about eCapital, visit eCapital.com.

New Truckers Guide to Trucker Lingo (Trucker Slang) | eCapital (2024)

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