When you are raised by a local trucker, you pick up on trucker slang – even the stuff your mom doesn’t want you to repeat! My dad was a local truck driver, and when I was little, I was his “ankle biter,” which is CB jargon for small child. When you’re small, CB slang is fun … and a bit intimidating. I mean, pretty much everyone calls Thanksgiving “turkey day,” but only truckers know that “boy scouts” aren’t just an organization young boys join to earn badges. Nope! “Boy scouts” are the state police. So, all the truckers out there know to watch out for boy scouts!
Even if you haven’t been raised by a trucker, it’s pretty easy to pick up this language unto itself that has been handed down from trucker to trucker. And, if you’re a new driver reading this post, it’s your turn to master this dialect. There are all kinds of trucker lingo guides out there, and I’m going to review some CB slang for you here. But, perhaps the best way to learn the trucker’s language is to turn on your CB radio and just listen to the flurry of words “coming in loud and proud” over the airwaves.
You Already Know Some Terms
You are probably already familiar with, and even using, trucker slang without realizing it. Of course, you know you have to invent your CB nickname, or “handle”, before you begin chattering on the radio, and a “radio check” means you’re making sure that your CB is working. If you’re smart, you refer to your spouse as your “better half,” and everyone knows now that a “landline” is a wired phone. All of these commonly used terms are CB jargon and, yes, CB users call Wal-Mart “Wally World” too.
Driving long hauls is easily spiced up by dubbing American cities in a little CB lingo. Why refer to Los Angeles as Los Angeles when it’s more descriptive – and fun – to call it “shaky town”? Not all city nicknames are exclusive to CB talk. Everyone calls Boston “Bean-town,” New York City the “Big Apple” and Detroit IS the “Motor City,” but I bet you don’t usually refer to Nashville as “Guitar,” or Kansas City, Kansas as “Bright Lights.” Some CB slang names are lighthearted, such as “Choo-choo” for Chattanooga and “The Big D” for Dallas; some nicknames might push a few buttons, like “Gay Bay” for San Francisco and “Cigar City” for Tampa; most of the slang recognizes the city for what it’s famous for, such as St. Louis, Missouri’s “Gateway” moniker and San Antonio’s “Alamo City.”
Bears, Baby Bears and Bear Traps … oh, my!
Anyone who’s seen Smokey and the Bandit knows what a “bear” is, but you might not realize that a rookie cop is a “baby bear,” a “bear in the air” is a police helicopter, police are headquartered in a “bear cave,” and “bear traps” are those lovely stationary police holding up their radar guns. A majority of CB lingo involves police, because it seems like they’re always on the lookout for truckers, so drivers use a lot of trucker slang to issue warnings over the CB to other drivers. “Kojak with a kodak” is an officer using a radar at the side of the road, if someone is “shooting you in the back,” it means a policeman is clocking you out of sight, and the “county mounties” and “city kitties” are the local sheriff and police, respectively. So, when on the road, “peel your eyeballs” to keep an eye out for the authorities or you might get “bit on the seat of the britches,” or given a speeding ticket.
Trucker Lingo You Must Know
Most talk is an expressive way to keep the hours behind the wheel entertaining, but there is some CB jargon that is important to know and used by everybody, including police and emergency personnel. This CB lingo is numbered, and the most common term is “10-4,” which means okay/copy that. If you didn’t “10-4” the last message, you would say “10-9,” which directs the person to repeat their message. Other crucial trucker lingo is “10-13” to ask for weather conditions, “10-33” to notify others of an emergency and “10-20” to advise where you are located. Sleepy truck drivers might need the “10-36,” or correct time, and if anybody’s interested, you can always let people know you’re on a “10-100,” or bathroom break.
As you can see, there’s a lot of CB jargon out there. Once you establish your “handle,” climb into your “rig,” drive out onto that “big slab,” and see there’s a “clean shot” ahead, there’s no reason why you can’t “come in loud and proud” and engage in a friendly conversation filled with CB slang. Just don’t miss a “bear,” and watch out for “alligators”! Keep the trucker lingo fun and drive safe. I’ll “catch you on the flip-flop.”