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New Truckers Guide to Trucking Lingo

By 10.11.22October 19th, 2022No Comments
New Truckers Guide to Trucker Lingo

Trucking is a distinct culture with a lifestyle and 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 an argot, 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 are still in use today, 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.

The Ultimate List of 222 Trucker Slang Terms & Trucker Lingo

Term/Lingo

Definition

Alabama Chrome Duct tape
All locked up The nearby weigh station is closed.
Anteater This 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.
Alligator A 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 Radio Loudmouth CB’er (all mouth, no ears)
At your back door Something’s behind you.
Baby Bear A rookie law enforcement officer
Back Door Closed Police behind you or behind a convoy
Back it down Slow down.
Backed out of it No 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 row The last rows of parking in a truck stop.
Backslide On the return trip
Bambi A deer, dead or alive.
Band-aid Buggy Ambulance
Base station or unit A CB radio set in a stationary location.
Bean Popper Pill taker
Bear A law enforcement officer at any level, but usually a State Trooper, Highway Patrol.
Bear bait A speeding vehicle, usually a four-wheeler, which can be used to protect the other speeding vehicles behind it.
Bear bite A speeding ticket.
Bear den or bear cave Law enforcement headquarters, station.
Bear in the air A law enforcement aircraft which can be monitoring the traffic and speeds below.
Bear in the bushes Law enforcement (at any level) is hiding somewhere, probably with a radar gun aimed at traffic.
Belly Dumper A trailer with a bottom dump
Billy Big Rigger A trucker who brags about himself, or his big, fast, shiny truck.
Bedbugger Can refer to a household moving company or to the household mover himself.
Big R A Roadway truck.
Big truck Refers to an 18-wheeler or tractor-trailer. “Come on over, big truck”.
Bird dog A radar detector.
Big word Closed, 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 eye A truck with a headlight out.
Blew my doors off Passed at a high speed
Bobtail Driving the tractor only, without the trailer attached.
Boogie The top gear (the highest gear) of the transmission.
Boulevard The Interstate.
Brake check There is a traffic tie-up ahead, which will require immediate slowing down or stopping. “You’ve gotta brake check ahead of you, eastbound”.
Break If the radio’s busy, saying “break-19” is the proper way to gain access to the channel, and begin talking.
Breaking up Your signal is weak, or fading.
Brush your teeth and comb your hair Law enforcement is shooting vehicles with a radar gun.
Bubba What you call another trucker, often in a kidding way.
Bull dog A Mack truck.
Bull frog An ABF truck.
Bull hauler A livestock hauler.
Bumper sticker A vehicle that’s tailgating. Sometimes referred to as a “hitchhiker “.
Bundled out Loaded heavy, or to maximum capacity.
Bushels Weight of load in 1000’s (i.e. 43 bushels = 43,000 pounds)
Buster Brown A UPS truck or driver.
Cabbage A steep mountain grade in Oregon.
Cabover Abbreviated term for Cab-Over-the Engine (COE) type of tractor.
Cash register A tollbooth.
CB Rambo A wannabe tough guy on the CB Radio
Checking ground pressure The weigh station is open, and they’re running trucks across the scales (see “running you across”).
Cheese Wagon A yellow schoolbus
Chicken coop A weigh station, often called just a “coop”.
Chicken lights Decorative marker lights on truck and/or trailer
Chicken hauler or truck A big, fancy truck; a large, conventional tractor with a lot of lights and chrome. Also, one who hauls live chickens.
Choke-n-Puke A greasy spoon restaurant
City kitty A local law enforcement officer
Coal bucket A dump trailer
Comedian The median strip in between opposite lanes of traffic.
Container Refers to an overseas container; intermodal transportation.
Come-a-part engine Cummins engine.
Come back An invitation for the other driver to talk. Sometimes used when you couldn’t hear the last transmission, “comeback, I didn’t hear you”.
Come on Telling another driver that you hear him calling you, and to go ahead and talk. “Yeah driver, come on”.
Comic book A drivers log book.
Convoy A group of trucks traveling together.
Copy Transmission acknowledged, agreed with, or understood, as in “copy that, driver”.
Cornflake Refers to a Consolidated Freightways truck.
County Mountie County police, often a sheriff’s deputy.
Covered wagon A flatbed trailer with staked sides covered with tarpaulin
Crackerhead A derogatory term; insult.
Crotch rocket A motorcycle built for speed; not a Harley-Davidson.
Curtain Sider Trailer similar to a box trailer except that the sides are movable curtains.
Deadhead Pulling an empty trailer.
Destruction Road construction.
Diesel car A semi- tractor.
Diesel cop A DOT, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement officer.
Dispatcher Brains Light or empty load
Donkey Behind you.
Double nickel 55 mph.
Doubles Refers to a set of double trailers.
Drawing lines Completing your log book
Driving award A speeding ticket.
Downstroke Driving downwards, downhill, on a decline.
Dragon wagon A tow truck.
Dragonfly A truck with no power, especially going uphill.
Dry box An unrefrigerated, freight trailer. Also considered a dry van
18-wheeler Any tractor-trailer.
85th Street Interstate 85.
Evel Knievel A law enforcement officer on a motorcycle.
Eyeball To see something.
Feeding the bears Paying a ticket or citation.
Fingerprint To unload a trailer by yourself.
Flip-flop Refers to a u-turn, or a return trip.
Flying Hook Pilot Flying J Truck Stop
FM An AM-FM radio.
42 Yes, or OK.
Four-letter word Open; referring to weigh stations being open or closed.
4-wheeler Any passenger vehicle; cars or pickups.
Freight shaker A Freightliner truck.
Front door In front of you.
Full-grown bear State Trooper, or Highway Patrol.
Garbage hauler A produce load, or produce haulers.
Gear Jammer A driver who speeds up and slows down with great frequency.
General mess of crap A GMC truck
Georgia overdrive Putting the transmission into neutral on a downgrade, to go extremely fast. Definitely not recommended!
Go-go juice Diesel fuel.
Good buddy This used to be the thing to say: “10-4, good buddy”. Not anymore, as this calling someone a homosexual.
Good neighbor Usually used when you’re showing appreciation to another driver, as in “thank you, good neighbor”.
Got my nightgown on I’m in the sleeper, and ready to go to sleep.
Go to company When 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 Harley Turn your CB to channel 1.
Got your ears on? Are you listening
Gouge on it Go fast, put the throttle to the floor, step on it, etc.
Granny lane The right, slower lane on a multi-lane highway, or on the Interstate.
Greasy Icy, or slippery.
Greasy spoon A cheap restaurant
Greasy side up A vehicle that’s flipped over.
Green Stamps Money.
Grossed out Your gross vehicle weight is at maximum capacity; commonly 80,000 pounds.
Ground pressure The weight of your truck, as in “the scale’s testing your ground pressure”.
Gumball machine The lights on top of a patrol car.
Hammer down Go fast, step on it.
Hammer lane The 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 happy Happy new year; “Have a happy happy, driver”.
Happy hooker A tow truck hauling a truck.
Having “shutter trouble” Having trouble keeping awake.
Ho Chi Minh Trail Refers to California Highway 152, known for its abundance of accidents.
Hole in the wall Mountain tunnel entrance
Holler Call me on the radio, as in “give me a holler when you get back”.
Home 20 A driver’s home location.
Hood A conventional tractor, as opposed to a cab-over.
Hundred dollar lane, high dollar lane In 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.
Jackpot Same as gumball machine, refers to a patrol car’s lights.
Key down When you talk over somebody who’s trying to transmit. A bigger, more powerful radio can easily drown out a lesser one.
Key up Pushing the transmit button on the CB Mic. “Key up for about 20 minutes, and tell me how bad you are”.
In my back pocket Behind you; a place you’ve passed.
In the big hole The top gear of the transmission.
K-whopper A Kenworth tractor, or just KW.
Kojak with a Kodak Law enforcement using a radar gun.
Land line A stationary telephone; not a cellular-phone.
Large car A conventional tractor, often with a big sleeper, lots of chrome and lights, etc.
Left Coast The West Coast.
Local information A driver asks for local information when he needs directions in area he’s unfamiliar with.
Local-yokel A county, city, or small-town officer.
Lollipop The small reflector or marker poles on the sides of the highway.
Lumper Casual labor that loads or unloads your trailer, often requiring payment in cash.
Mash your motor Go fast, step on it. Same as gouge on it and hammer down.
Meat wagon An ambulance.
Merry merry Merry Christmas.
Motion lotion Diesel fuel.
Moving on Heading down the road.
Mud duck A weak radio signal.
Negatory Negative or no.
95th Street Interstate 95.
On the side On standby.
Ovalhead Peterbilt owner; Fan
Parking lot An auto transporter, often used when the trailer is empty.
Pay the water bill Taking a rest room break.
Pete Peterbilt Truck
Pigtail The electrical connection from the tractor to the trailer.
Plain wrapper An 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 protection Usually 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 stick Usually a metal, flexible support located on the tractor catwalk, that holds up the connections to the trailer.
Pole Cat Skunk
Power up Go faster, speed up.
Preeshaydit Thank you, I appreciate it.
Pumpkin A Schneider truck, because of its orange color.
Radio A CB radio.
Radio check How’s my radio working, transmitting, getting out there.
Rambo Someone who talks really tough on the radio, especially when no one else knows where they are.
Ratchet jaw Someone 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 mail Not talking; just listening to the radio.
Reefer Usually refers to refrigerated van trailer, but sometimes just to the reefer unit itself.
Rest-a-ree-a Another way to say rest area.
Road pizza Roadkill on the side of the road.
Rocking chair A truck that’s in the middle of two other trucks.
Roger Yes; affirmative.
Roger beep An 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 skate Any small car.
Rooster cruiser A big, fancy truck; a large, conventional tractor with a lot of lights and chrome.
Runnin’you across The weigh station is open, and they’re weighing trucks, probably in a quick fashion.
Salt shaker The snowplows that dump salt or sand on the highways in the winter.
Sandbagging To listen to the radio without talking; also “readin’ the mail”.
Sailboat Fuel Empty truck; hauling nothing but air
Sandbox An escape ramp, which sometimes uses sand to stop vehicles.
Schneider eggs The orange cones in construction areas.
Seat cover Sometimes used to describe drivers or passengers of four-wheelers.
Sesame Street Channel 19 on the CB.
Shaky Refers to California in general, sometimes Los Angeles, and, occasionally, San Francisco.
Shiny side up Your 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 back You’re being shot with a radar gun as your vehicle passes a law enforcement vehicle.
Short short A short amount of time.
Shutdown Put out of service by the DOT because of some violation.
Sleeper creeper A prostitute; same as a lot lizard.
Skateboard A flatbed, or flatbed trailer.
Skins Tires.
Smokin’ scooter A law enforcement officer on a motorcycle.
Smokin’ the brakes The trailer brakes are literally smoking from overuse down a mountain grade.
Smokey or Smokey Bear A law enforcement officer, usually highway patrol.
Split A junction, where the road goes in separate directions.
Spy in the sky A law enforcement aircraft, same as a “bear in the air”.
Stagecoach A tour bus.
Stand on it Step on it, go faster.
Swinging Carrying a load of swinging meat.
Taking pictures Law enforcement using a radar gun.
10-4 OK, message received. Some drivers just say “10”.
Thermos bottle A tanker trailer.
Through the woods Leaving the Interstate to travel secondary roads.
Throwing iron To put on snow tire chains.
Too many eggs in the basket Overweight load or gross weight.
Toothpicks A load of lumber.
Travel agent The dispatcher, or sometimes a broker.
Triple digits Over 100 mph.
VW A Volvo-White tractor.
Wagon Some drivers refer to their trailer as a wagon.
Walked on you Drowned out your transmission by keying up at the same time.
Wally world Wal-Mart (the store or the distribution center), or a Wal-Mart truck.
West Coast turnarounds Uppers; 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 wagons A set of double or triple trailers.
Yard A company terminal, drop lot, etc.
Yardstick A mile marker on the highway.

 

Conclusion

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 called freight factoring.

 

About eCapital

eCapital’s roots are deeply grounded in the trucking industry. For over 25 years, our organization has helped to reshape the trucking culture with fast, easy cash flow solutions and innovative ways to deliver more working capital to more trucking companies, big and small. You know you can count on us – we speak your language. Want to know our lingo? – check out our blog on Typical Freight Factoring Terms You Should Know to learn more about freight factoring terms you may hear discussed in the trucking community.

For more information about how our industry-experienced team can support your success with access to more money, more ways, and with greater control, visit eCapital.com


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