Printable Version
Pronunciation: trêk Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, Noun

Meaning: 1. [Verb] To have business or other dealings with, to interact with. 2. [Noun] Dealings, business, interaction. 3. [Noun] Goods, wares, produce bought, sold, or traded. 4. (US) Worthless stuff, mess, garbage. 5. A vehicle for transporting objects, motorized or not (hand truck).

Notes: Remember the phrase, "Keep on trucking," from the 60s? The intent was the verbal sense of today's word. Although trucker and truckage have been used in referring to today's kind of truck, the relatives of the modern word, referring to a hauling vehicle, have taken control of these terms. As the Word History shows, these are two separate words that only coincidentally are spelled and pronounced identically.

In Play: This word refers to business dealings in the broadest sense of the term: "I have no truck with people who eat cabbage and beans before dropping by for a visit." In other words, I have nothing to do with them. The fourth sense above is available to parents throughout the US: "What is that truck all over your face and hands?"

Word History: Today's Good Word looks good and Germanic, but it is as Romantic as a word can be. It comes from Old French troquer "to trade, barter, swap", a verb that descended from Medieval Latin trocare with the same meaning. The Latin verb is visible in Portuguese and Spanish trocar "to barter" and Italian truccare, which now means "to make up, put on cosmetics". Although it is prevalent in Romance and Germanic languages, how it befell Latin is a great mystery. It doesn't appear related to the other word truck, from Latin trochus "iron hoop", from Greek trokhos "wheel". The push-pull truck for lifting and moving large objects by hand preceded the mechanical beasts we drive today. A small wheel was called a truckle way back, as in 'a truckle bed', which somehow came to refer to the trundle bed on wheels that we store under a regular bed today.

Dr. Goodword,

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