Trucker Talk

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There's no doubt about it, truckers have a language all their own. This is especially true of their communications on the CB. The following trucker words and phrases were heard on the two-way during a six-month study along America's interstate highways. We've supplied the definitions based upon conversations with truckers at truck stops. This glossary is by no means complete, since new trucker language develops all the time. If you know of words or phrases we've missed, send them to Crocodile who is keeping this list up to date for us.

Aardvark- also anteater. A big rig with a long, droopy nose, suggesting that it is attacking an ant colony. First use was when Kenworth introduced its T600 in the mid-'80s.
Affirmative- yes, or 10-4.
Air Cap or Air Capital - drivers have names for every major city in the United States. This is what they call Wichita, Kan., where many of the leading airplane manufacturers are located.
Alamo - San Antonio, Texas.
Alligator - a piece of tire on the road. It looks like an alligator sunning itself on the highway.
Astrodome or Dome - Houston.

Back or come back - "I'm finished transmitting, talk back to me."
Back door - behind you or to the rear. "You got a bear on the back door, about a mile back." Also the rear truck of a caravan.
Back it down - used to tell another driver to get his foot off the accelerator and reduce speed. "You got a construction zone up here, back it down." Also "back it off."

Badger - the state of Wisconsin.
Barefoot - when you cross a mountain pass without traction devices, your truck is barefoot.
Base station or base - a fixed location CB transceiver (not mobile).
Beantown - Boston.

Bear - generic term for a law enforcement officer.
- full grown bear: state trooper.
- county Mounties: sheriff's deputy.
- city kitty: city police, or, as many truckers often say: "PO-LEESE." Also local yokel.
- Evel Knievel: motorcycle cop.
- diesel cop/DOT/The MAN: State or Federal Department of Transportation enforcement officer.
- mama bear: female law enforcement officer.
Bear bait - usually a four-wheeler, driving over the speed limit without a radio.
Bear bite - a speeding ticket. The consequences of being bear bait. "That crackerhead got himself a bear bite, he did!"
Bear cave - police station or highway patrol headquarters.
Bear in the air - highway patrol using an airplane or helicopter to check ground vehicles' speed. Also called "spy in the sky."
Bear in the bushes - Smokey is hiding, usually with a radar gun.
Bedbugger - a household-goods mover.
Beer City - Milwaukee.
Better half - a driver's spouse. Wife is often referred to as "momma." Husband, "daddy."
Big A - this is what drivers call Atlanta.

Big Apple - New York City, of course.
Big D - Dallas.
Big ears - a very good receiver.
Big R - a Roadway truck.
Big road - a major roadway, usually an interstate highway.
Big truck - a tractor-trailer rig, with lots of lights, accessories and horsepower. Generally, the tractor is a conventional type, i.e. a long nose, a hood, though there are some big, beautiful cabovers out there.
Bikini - means Florida. "How about it, SlipShod? I'm heading to Bikini. Where you going?"
Bird dog - a radar detector.
Bluebird - a Marten Transport driver. Marten trucks are decorated with martin swallows (birds).
Bobtail - a tractor only; no trailer attached.
Boulevard - an interstate highway, also "big road."
Break - proper way to gain access to a busy CB channel, i.e., "break 19 for a radio check."
Boss man - a supervisor. Also, the owner of a trucking company where the driver works.
Box - a linear amplifier, also called a footwarmer. This device boosts a CB transmitter's power well beyond the maximum allowed by the Federal Communications Commission. "I got a new box. They're probably readin' me in Bangkok, whachyathank?"
Breaking up - a radio transmission is being interfered with, or maybe the distance is too great for good reception. "I can't read you, Rubber Duck, you're breaking up."
Brush your teeth and comb your hair - this tells another driver that he is approaching an official vehicle (a local yokel or highway patrol - usually a radar-equipped unit) and to be on his best driving behavior, especially conforming to the speed limit.
Bubba - Texas origin. Roughly translated: "good neighbor."
Bull City - Durham, N.C.
Bulldog - a Mack tractor.
Bull frog - an ABF truck.
Bullhauler - a slatted trailer hauling livestock, probably cows or bulls.
Buster brown - a United Parcel Service truck, or UPS driver.

Cash register or Cashbox - a toll booth.
Channel 9 - CB emergency channel.
Channel 19 - most commonly used trucker channel.
Charlie Town - Charleston, S.C.
Chicken coop - weigh station. "Them northbound coops open?"
Chicken truck or chicken hauler - big, fast large car with lots of chrome and lights. Also called a rooster cruiser. Look for a chrome rooster on the mud flaps on some of these behemoths. Yes, they do haul chickens (and produce and other stuff). "Cluck, cluck, chicken truck!" is the way other drivers greet them.
Choke-and-puke - a truckstop restaurant not known for its culinary delights.
Cigar City - Tampa, Fla.
Circle City - Indianapolis. The State Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument is in the center of the city and is known as Monument Circle, hence "Circle City".
Citizen - someone who is not a trucker. "A citizen back there helped me change the tire."
C.O.E. - cab over engine.
Come back - this is a call to anyone listening. "Thanks, Too Tall, for the come back. How do I get to the truck stop from here. I'm at ..." Also "come on back ..."
Come on - back to you only/go ahead and transmit.
Conventional - refers to a conventional tractor, one with a hood, as opposed to a cabover engine type.
Convoy - a group of trucks traveling together.
Copy - I'm in receipt of your radio transmission. "I got a copy on that, driver."
Cornflakes - a Consolidated Freightways truck. (now out of business)
Cottonpicker - sometimes used as a male-bonding term, but more often as a mild insult. The equivalent of jerk. "That cottonpicker turned right in front of me!"
Crackerhead - you can recognize a crackerhead by his/her dumb mistake or stupid remark. You'll find them everywhere; just grin and bear it.
Crispy Corpse - Awful! But it's what drivers call Corpus Christi, Texas.

Dead head - to pull an empty trailer, which rarely pays. Drivers say, "I've got a load of dispatcher's brains!" or "got me a load of flying canaries!" (they weigh nothing.) A load of "postholes" also describes an empty trailer.
Dirty side - the east coast. The west coast is known as shaky side.
Donkey - behind you, your rear end. "Don't let a cop slip up on your donkey."
Double nickel - Means 55 miles per hour.
Doubles - double trailers. Also called wiggle wagons or widowmakers.
Do what? - I did not copy/understand your last transmission. Please repeat.
Draggin' wagon - a wrecker or tow truck.
Driver - a trucker, male or female. This is how you should refer to a trucker on the radio, if you don't know his or her CB handle. Drivers are rarely called "trucker."
Duke City - Albuquerque, N.M. Named after the Duke of Albuquerque.

Ears - CB antenna or antennae. "I'll give that pretty young thing in the yellow Camaro a shout; she's got ears."
18-wheeler - a tractor-trailer rig with 18 wheels.
85th Street - refers to Interstate 85.
Eyeball - to view. "I got an eyeball on that cop in the grass, mile sticker three-oh."
Feed the bears - to pay a ticket or a fine. "I had to feed the bears and it cost me a bunch of green stamps (money)."
Flatbed - a flatbed trailer. Also called a skateboard.
Flip-flop - a U-turn. "Full grown bear did a flip-flop and is southbound, hammer down!" It can also mean the return trip. "Catch you on the flip-flop."
42 - I understand and agree with you. "Forty-two, driver, I heard that idea, I did!"
40-weight - truckstop coffee. Also called "mud," or "joe."
Four-wheeler - a vehicle with four wheels, a car. This term is usually preceded by some form of expletive, as truckers are not always impressed by the way some four-wheelers are driven.
Front door - in front of you, or to the front. "You got a bear about two miles on your front door." Also the lead truck in a caravan.

Garbage State - New Jersey.
Gateway - St. Louis.
Get a grip - means don't lose it, take control of a particular situation. Also "I got a grip on that, I do!" (I understand and agree.)
Go juice - diesel fuel; also motion lotion.
Good neighbor - good friend; has replaced "good buddy."
Good old days - when trucking was fun and profitable for the driver. Before deregulation in 1980.
Grass - the median strip of a highway. "You got a smokey bear in the grass at mile sticker two-one."
Greasy - when the road is icy and slippery.
Green stamps - money. Usually associated with "feeding the bears" (traffic tickets).
Grossed-out - when the rig and the cargo reach the maximum allowable weight. Usually 80,000 pounds.
Ground unit - a smokey bear in his car on the ground, receiving speed reports from a "spy in the sky" (a trooper in an airplane).

Hammer lane - left lane of traffic.
Hammer down - to move fast. "Hammer down, driver!"

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Hamster - when a driver runs out of horsepower on a grade, another driver may suggest that he "throw on another hamster," the inference being that his truck is powered by a hamster in a rotating cage.
Han - means driver or a helper on the truck. "preeshaydit there, han!" It is derived from the word "hand," as in farmhand, dairyhand, etc.
Handle - a distinctive name drivers use on the CB radio.
Happy happy - a happy New Year wish. "Have a happy happy!"
Hate and discontent - this is when some malcontent on the CB starts spreading trash about everything and everybody. A verbal brouhaha ensues.
Holler - call me on the radio at a specified time or location. "Give me a holler when you get parked." Interchanged with shout. "I'll give you a shout when I go by the pickle park."
Hollyweird - Hollywood, Calif.
How about? - this is used to establish contact with another driver. "How about that Missouri Bandit, you got a copy?"
Home 20 - a driver's permanent home.

Iron City - Detroit.

Jewelry - tire chains or cables.
J-Town - Jacksonville, Fla.

KC - Kansas City, Mo. Could refer to Kansas City, Kan., which is across the Missouri River.
KW - a Kenworth tractor; a K-Wopper.
Kiddie car - a school bus.

Large car - a prettied-up conventional tractor and trailer, with lots of horsepower, big sleeper, many accessories and customized paint. It is said that on a long hill, a big truck changes gears, while a large car changes lanes!
Little Havana - Miami; also Little Cuba.
Local information - a radio call for information pertaining to the local area.
Log book - a small book showing a driver's route, hours of service, sleeper time, stops, etc.
Lollipop - a CB microphone. Drivers are heard to say, "Don't lick the damned lollipop!" meaning take the mic (or mike) out of your mouth and I can understand you better.
Lumper - also known as swamper. An individual hired to load or unload a trailer.
Lost Wages - Las Vegas.

Meatwagon - an ambulance.
Mercy - supplants "on-air" profanity. "Mercy, I thought that driver was going to run over me."
Merry merry - The way a driver wishes another driver a merry Christmas.
Mile High - Denver, elevation 5,280 feet.
Monkey pickles - bananas. So named because bananas are dark green during shipment. "I got me a load of monkey pickles out of Gulfport."
Mon-tan-n-n-na - Montana drivers must have thick skin when other drivers give them the "sheep bleat."
Motion lotion - diesel fuel. Also "go juice."
Movie star - M.S. Carriers driver. (Not seen much anymore because Swift bought out M.S. Carriers although you do still see their (Movie Star) trailers around).
Movin' on - means you're getting down to some serious trucking.
Mud duck - a really weak, poor radio signal.
Music City - Nashville, Tenn. Also called "guitar."

Negative - means "no." Negatory is also used.
No doubt - the truth of your last statement is undeniable.

Okie City - Oklahoma City.
On the side - on standby. "I'll be on the side, driver, in case you need me."

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Parking lot - an open auto transporter.
Peanut butter in the ears - the driver you are calling is not responding. Maybe his radio is turned off. He is obviously not hearing your transmission. "Tiny must have peanut butter in his ears."
Pete - a Peterbilt tractor. Sometimes called a Peter Car.
Pickemup truck - a pickup truck.
Plain wrapper - a term for an unmarked police car.
Portable barnyard - a truck hauling livestock.
Port City - Wilmington, N. C.
Preeshaydit - thank you very much.
Pumpkin - a Schneider National truck, so named because of its orange color.

Queen, the - Cincinnati. The same name is used for Charlotte, N.C.

Radio - a citizens band radio. Also called ra-did-io.
Radio check - a call to check a radio's operation.
Radio Rambo - someone with a bad attitude who wants to fight everyone. Most often the fighting is not face to face, the battle takes the form of a series of threats and insults and all on the radio.
Rake the leaves - this is the function of the last truck in a convoy - to lookout for police coming up from behind. Also called back door.
Ratchet jaw - a person who talks too much on the radio. "I wish that ratchet jaw would shut up and let someone else talk!"
Rascal - a term identifying a person who is known by a driver. "That rascal owes me money!"
Readin' the mail - just listening to the CB, not actively talking.
Reefer - a refrigerated trailer. Drivers will also talk of their unit. This is the refrigeration unit which keeps the interior of the trailer cold. The unit is located on the front of the trailer or beneath.
Rockin' chair - truck between the front and rear vehicle of a convoy. This is a desirable place to be since the rockin' chair truck is somewhat protected from speed cops on both ends.
Roger - means "yes" or "OK" or "message received." Interchangeable with "10-4" or "four."
Roger beep - a CB radio's signaling tone device.
Roller skate - a compact car.

Schneider eggs - those little orange cones in construction areas. The orange Schneider National trucks are everywhere, laying their eggs across the land.
Shake the trees - activity of the first truck in a convoy, with an eyeball (and radar detector) on cops out ahead.
Shaky - name truckers have given Los Angeles, because of frequent earthquakes. Also "shaky side" refers to the west coast, while the east coast is called the "dirty side."
Shiny side up - this is how drivers wish each other a safe trip. "Keep the greasy side down and the shiny side up, driver."
Short short - a short amount of time. "I'll be back on the big road in a short short."
Shut down - a truck which has been put out of service by the DOT.
Skateboard - a flatbed trailer.
Skip - a radio wave being reflected from the ionosphere, enabling long-distance reception.
Smoke City - Birmingham, Ala.
Smokey - a law enforcement officer. Most often a highway patrolman, a bear, a smokey bear. So named due to similarity of flat brim hats worn by officers and Smokey Bear of fire-prevention fame.
Stage stop - a truckstop.
Stand on it - accelerate quickly.
Sticker Patch - Phoenix.
Super Trucker - Big Daddy told us that this refers to a Driver who thinks he knows everything there is to know about everything.
Sunflower - the state of Kansas.

Taking pictures - police operating a radar gun.
10-4 - an acknowledgement which means "yes" or "OK" or "I received your transmission."
10-20 - your location. "What is your 10-20?"
10-33 - emergency traffic.
10-36 - a call for the correct time.
Thermos bottle - a tanker truck carrying chemicals under pressure.
Throwin' iron - installing tire chains.
Tijuana Taxi - a police car embellished with a dozen or more emergency lights - front and rear - large bubble gum strobes on top, and bristling with antennae.
Triangle, the - Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill area of North Carolina.
Turkey day - Thanksgiving day.
Twin Cities - Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn.
Two-wheeler - a motorcycle. Sometimes referred to as an Evel Knievel.

Van Gogh - the vehicle has no ears (antennae), thus no CB. "I'd give that young lady in the convertible a shout, but she's a Van Gogh."

Walked on ya - someone keyed up with you and your transmission was unintelligible.
Wall-to-wall - a loud and clear radio transmission. "You're coming in wall-to-wall." This phrase also describes a great number of police in a particular area. "Mercy, the cops up here are wall-to-wall!"
Whachyathank? - No response is necessary. The driver who uses this doesn't really care what you think, but is just voicing his thoughts and is seeking reinforcement. "I'm going to head on down to the warehouse tonight, whachyathank?"
White stuff - snow.
Whoop! whoop! - though we're hearing this on the radio a lot lately, the meaning is unknown. Just a way for a driver to let off steam, we think. We've also heard this: http://www.whoopwhoop.com.
Wiggle wagon - a tractor pulling triple trailers. Double trailers are also referred to this way.
Windy City or Windy - Chicago.
Wolverine - the state of Michigan.

Yard - name for the parking area at a driver's company. "I'm sitting in the yard, waiting to load up."
Yardstick - name for a mile marker on major highways. "It's clean up to here. I'm at the 32 yardstick." Also called a "mile sticker."

Zipper - refers to the dotted line marking the center of the road. "There's a 'gator on the zipper at yardstick 95."

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