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20 comments on this post.
  1. bigjohn756:

    I call the actor who plays House ‘big truck’. But, only to myself, of course. It would be embarrassing if I had to explain it to the public.

  2. kevin o'malley:

    I was born in the USA. When I first heard the word lorry, I felt it was a child’s slang word so i refused to say it unless i had no other choice. Now I see it has a real meaning and it’s nice to see it’s a real word.

  3. no quarter:

    aht about truculent?

  4. dave:

    Truck and trade being synonymous, then perhaps truck wagon for trade vehicle would be the obvious progression – then shortened to truck, then reinvented as a verb. Just a thought.

    Lorries, well I’ve always loved them.

  5. Brian:

    There is something wonderful in tracing the derivation of words.

  6. Coogy:

    I drive a HGV/LGV in the UK, a 44 tonne articulated vehicle.

    I know of nobody who calls it a lorry and only a handful of people who call it a truck. Seemingly, if you’re from Manchester(UK) then that big noisy beastie which trundles down the road is called a wagon.

    How d’you like them apples?

  7. John:

    Lorry being a corruption of lurry, a low wagon, then wagon is from the cart, to my mind one higher off the ground with large wheels. Also wagon was spelt waggon by Sentinel always. My dad drove “lorries”, never trucks that I heard. As a teen I used to go around with a group that played working men’s clubs, and one was called “Carters and Motormens WMC”. In London you have the annual “Cart Marking” ceremony with the Lord Mayor where vehicles of all kinds are paraded before him.

  8. Steve:

    I from Leeds (Great Britain) and I always said Lorry when I was a kid, lots of people, me included still call them Lorrys even today.

  9. Karen:

    Always have and always will use lorry :)

  10. Dan:

    Drove one for near on 30 yrs. & never gave the origin of the word much thought. And, now I know. Much obliged. And, the same with Lorry. Know how to spell it now as well. Again, thanks much for the info. (Learn somethin’ new every day.)

  11. vote Crosby:

    The common usage of “truck” in the late 1800s and early 1900s, in America, meant: trash, refuse, ric-rac,(http://www.dictionary.com/browse/truck?s=t definitions 2&3 under NOUN). Early model Fords in rural areas would often have their bodies removed behind the front seat and their owners would lay boards across the frame to create a flat surface. Some would even put rails on the sides. These modified vehicles would be used to move various things, to move truck, and were referred to as “pick-up trucks” (the hyphen was later dropped), and that was how the vehicles were named even after commercial versions were manufactured (if you can find automobiles ads from American advertising in the 1960s and 1970s, you should be able to find this term easily or for a more current example, a Google search for “pickup truck” will display recent truck ads). By the 1980s, the use of “truck” to refer to trash had fallen out of common usage, and many younger people didn’t know the classic definition. The term “pick-up truck” was too long to stick in modern American vernacular, and the “pickup” part was dropped. Leaving “truck” as the name of the vehicles.

    Up until the time of his death, my grandfather would correct me if I tried to refer to the vehicles as “trucks”. He’d tell me, “that’s a pickup truck. Truck on it’s own just means trash.”

  12. DJ:

    I live in Florida and have a Brit friend from Portsmouth who says lorry.

  13. Eric:

    Under a rail car is a “truck” (the wheel assembly.) My understanding of the original of the meaning truck was the wheel assembly. These wheel assemblies were used on what we now call trucks. The name of the wheel assembly was generalized to the whole vehicle and the name of truck stuck in the U.S.

  14. Jeff:

    Great article! In the US (and probably in the UK), if someone if lying to us and we know it, we just say to them “I don’t buy it.” That sounds something like the same meaning of “have no truck with”.

  15. Norman:

    I’m from Newcastle upon Tyne UK.
    I’ve been an HGV driver for 30 years and have noticed unfortunately, more and more people using the term ‘truck’ nowadays!
    Maybe it’s the OLD fart in me but it’ll always be a wagon,unit,motor or lorry in my eyes.
    Truck is an Americanism dragged screaming and kicking, probably from the worst film (movie) ever made….Convoy!

    Ten four rubber duck!

  16. Robby:

    As for a “Truck.” You are right in thinking it came from the 4 wheels of a ship-borne cannon. The cannon itself was not permanently attached to the Truck, but was commonly heavy enoght to remain in place on the truck. It was common to use cannon trucks as helpers for moving heavy things around the deck. It was also a means of moving heavy objects around the dock area. The saying was “If it’s too heavy to move by hand, then truck it.” This of course expanded to any vehicle that had 4 wheels. And so-on.
    The word used in the UK “Lorry, whilst quite different from “Truck” had a similar origin. The English slang meaning “a lot of” is truncated even today in the North of England to “A lorr of.” Quite often you’ll hear “A Lorrov love” or a “lorrov money” for example. Dockside you’d hear “A lorrovstuff” being moved around by cannon truck or 4 wheel cart. The whole load being a “Lorrov or even a Lorry load.” Get it?

  17. Bob:

    A round wheel of cheese is called a truckle.

  18. Ian W:

    The French word for a heavy vehicles is poid lourdes. I had always thought that the English lorry was an English contraction of the French Lourdes. It may well be that the origin of lurry was that too.

  19. Martin York:

    Perhaps. But the fact that it its first use was not noted until the early 19th century, may point to a different derivation. Though here its is attributed to a long, low wagon but how is that known? An alternative possibility is that it was brought back from the Napoleonic Wars to describe what we would now call a van,; an enclosed vehicle with doors. The French used battlefield ambulances for the first time to collect the wounded, possibly the first real attempt to look after the soldier, and this may have become a talking point amongst the ranks of other nations. These vans were invented and instituted by Baron Larrey and may well have become known as Larreys, being unique.

  20. John K:

    I wonder if there’s any connection to the French “lourd” for heavy, but I haven’t found any etymological reference to that.

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