Turtle Hull

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17 comments on this post.
  1. Steve Parkes:

    Boot: I was told some decades ago that “boot” comes from the French “boite” [circumflex-i], meaning “box”. Almost the same as “trunk”; likewise “bonnet”/”hood”.

    I wonder if there are any other bits of cars where we’re separated by our common language?

  2. Vic Parrish:

    I always thought the origin of “tump” was a sort of mish-mash of “tip” and “dump”, which in the circumstances I’ve heard people use it made perfect sense.

  3. Louise Hope:

    >> I wonder if there are any other bits of cars where we’re separated by our common language? <<

    Most bits, I think. Or parts, as we say in the US. Windscreen : windshield.

  4. B.K. Warfield:

    My grandparents in east Texas called the car trunk the “turtle hull” but never explained why. I’ve wondered whether it was a corruption of the term “turtle hold” on old sailing ships. They also used “car shed” for garage or carport.

  5. Loryia Bond:

    My Aunt in West Virginia always called the trunk of the car the ‘Turtle’ – fascination with word origins! Thanks for the forum!

  6. Barney Smith:

    Look at old cars from the forties and early fifties and you will see that the trunk lid resembles a turtle hull. A turtle shell that has had the turtle “hulled” out of it.

  7. William S. Deaver:

    Being a child growing up in the South in the 60s and 70s I can say without a doubt that “Turtle” was very common every day language referencing the trunk of a car but never in my life have I ever heard or used the term “calf rope” to mean surrender or instead of “Uncle”. That’s an obscure one to be sure.

  8. Penny Guynes:

    I was referring to my Mazda Miata turtle hull to my stepson who was born in eighties and he thought I was really out in left field when I said this. I googled turtle hull and came up with this site. I will tell everyone about the Word Detective. This is a very entertaining, educating, and the best site I have come across for the use of dialectical terms. I have used calf rope and tump, etc. This is part of my southern heritage which I am very proud of.

  9. Fred:

    When I was a child many people would refer to the trunk of a car as the “Turtle” I once heard the reason it was called a turtle was due to the shape of the trunk of a car during thhose early years. Many cars trunks were humped and shaped like a turtle shell. As far as “Tump” we used that word also. Tump it over. Meaning knock it over. Those words just went away with the passing of time. Remember when everyone used the word “Cool”? He’s so cool! Meaning special…hip…with it..or up to date. Those were the days. By the way .. I’m 70 years old. A Pepsi generation survivor.

  10. barronj:

    Calf rope, if you have ever witnessed roping competition at a rodeo, is where a calf is lassoed, tackled and tied up in a quick fashion. It’s used in context of getting someone to do something against their will, forcing them by submission.

  11. barronj:

    I came across this site because my grandfather (from SE Texas) also called the trunk the turtle hull

  12. east texas:

    country livin’ , country folks and country words and phrases— nothin’ livin’ in the USA and in the South!

  13. Phil Young:

    I’m from Oklahoma originally and I always called the back of the car at Turtle the hall. So when I went to Philadelphia for school people thought I was crazy and had no idea what I was talking about. I’m still glad I learned that vernacular version of talking about the trunk of a car that way.

  14. roy d garner:

    when i was growing up my dad and uncles always referred to the trunk of our car as turtle hull, didn’t start using trunk until i was about 13 when i worked in a little store and people would say put the groceries in the trunk, around 1958

  15. Magnolia Belle:

    Growing up in Central Louisiana my family called the trunk a turtle hull also!

  16. Bobby Rosbrough:

    My grandmother called the trunk of a car the turtle hull also. She also called a light bulb a light globe.

  17. Shooter:

    It was referred to a turtle shell or turtle hole because when you open the trunk the bracing on the back of the trunk look like a turtle shell

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