An automobile question too stupid for GQ...

Hot on the heels of my other vehicular related brain fart question, I come to ask you this. What do American’s call what Brits refer to as a lorry?

Google seemed to say it’s a truck. But… then what do you call trucks? Are they all just trucks? That seems a needlessly broad usage. I mean if I say I’ll pick you up in the truck, how do you know I’ll turn up in a dinky little pickup and not an articulated lorry.

Articulated lorry is fun to say! Why you banish that from your lexicon???

I’ve also heard the term 18-wheeler, but what about bigger lorries? Or smaller lorries? Or non-articulated ones?

The truck end of an articulated lorry is a semi. Smaller delivery lorries are box trucks.
This is pronounced sem-eye, although it does mean not all.

An 18-wheeler may be referred to as a ‘tractor-trailer’, the ‘tractor’ being the part with the engine and cab.

What the Brits call a ‘lorry’ (4-6 wheels, two axles, enclosed storage area) might be called a ‘box truck’.

But if someone were to say they’ll ‘pick me up in the truck’, I’d expect an SUV.

Truck covers a broad range of vehicles in the US.

We usually add a descriptive word with it do be more specific.
Pickup truck, tow truck, dump truck, cargo truck, delivery truck.
If the cab is seperate from the trailer then they are a cab and a trailer. When together the larger ones we call semis or 18-wheelers.

When someone says lorry, my first thought is of the type of heavy-duty(multi-ton) One peice truck with a fully walled cargo box that’s about 10 to 25 feet long, that might deliver a Piano or a load of boxes of fruit.

If I’m trying to be specific I would call that a box truck, or even a box delivery truck.

A one peice non-solid walled truck I would call a flatbed, even if it has fences or rails.

An 18 wheel articulated, would be a semi. Then either or box semi or flatbed semi if that was important to the conversation.

Yes, an eighteen-wheeler, a forklift, and a pickup are all trucks. :slight_smile:

That depends on the specific situation too. If my brother-in-law asked me to meet him at his truck, I’d be looking for something like this.

Sunspace, a forklift is called a truck? That’s new to me. And, if I say I’m going to pick you up in the truck, this is what’s showing up. Just another sample…

Yep. “Forklift truck”. I’ve even heard “truck” used occasionally for the wheel assemblies on railway cars. And then there’s the “handtruck”. I think the term boils down to “wheeled thing carrying a load”.

That’s what I think of as a truck too!

So lets see if I have this right:

lorries = semis/18-wheelers
vans = box/delivery trucks
trucks = pickup trucks
SUVs may be referred to as trucks
forklifts = forklift trucks (actually I knew that one, it’s just more commonly referred to as a forklift. I wouldn’t think it usual if you tacked truck on the end of that too though).

This is a really useful way for me to think of it - like truck is the family name and the descriptors are all the little sub groups of truck. Makes sense to me at least!

A slight hijack, but does anyone know the etymology of using “semi” as a name for an 18-wheeled truck/trailer?

In all other contexts, semi means half of something. What is a semi truck half of?

“Semi” is short for “semitrailer” (big box with wheels on the back and 5th-wheel hitch on the front), it goes on the back of the Kenworth/Peterbuilt/Whatever tractor. A “tractor” is a vehicle which is lagely useless by itself (just like the John Deer you normally think of) but which is mainly used for pulling (tracting) something.

Semi comes from semi-trailer, a trailer without a front axle, which is the kind pulled by the truck (also called the tractor, leading to tractor-trailer for referring to the combo).



curses! foiled again

Since this is my business I’ll share something with you Polyperchon. On the S.A.S.S. (standard automotive stupidity scale), S- Ass as I like to refer to it. Your question, in laymans terms, would be like comparing a standard BB, as in BB gun ammo, to a regulation basketball. Hope that helps.

Yep. Sometimes called a “bogie,” but most often referred to as a “truck” on North American railways; this is the two-axle, four flanged-wheel unit under a railway car. Each railway car sits on two trucks.

In the warehouses I’ve worked in, any moving piece of equipment that lifts loads and takes them places has been generically referred to as a “lift truck.” This includes forklifts, of course; but also things like tow-motors (they lift a pallet a few inches off the floor so it can be driven places by the operator who rides on the machine) and stackers (these can lift high, like a forklift, but the operator doesn’t ride on it–he or she steers and operates it while walking or standing on the floor). There are others too, but the important thing is that they’re all called lift trucks, which makes safety rules simpler: “Watch for Lift Trucks in this Area” is nice and short and to the point.

:confused: Um, I have no idea what this means, but thanks for sharing that down home wisdom - you’re not Dr. Phil in real life are you? I also know nothing about BB guns (or guns at all…) or basketball. Look there’s two more American things you can mock me for being ignorant of. Enjoy!

Maybe I wasn’t clear but it’s not that I don’t know the difference between a delivery truck and a semi etc it’s that I didn’t know which British terms were equivalent to which American terms. Not the whole world speaks the same dialect as you - hope that doesn’t come as too much of a shock!

Everyone else, thank you very much for your explanation. Esp for the origin of semi - the half thing is what I thought of too but I supposed my quota for idiotic questions was somewhat used up for the week so didn’t want to ask. :o

Oh please don’t be so obtuse! I was paying you a compliment. How about a common pea and a cantelope? Do they have those in your country? As you mentioned lorry, I just presumed you to be from England. But lets be realistic shall we? Basketball? How about this. I offer you my most humble apologies and thank you for the education about your country. Enjoy your tea and crumpets. :dubious:

I’ve never heard anyone say pickup truck, just pick up.

Dumper truck yes, pickup truck no.

I apologise if I misread you, but I honestly had no idea what you were talking about. As far as I could parse you were saying:
a) you worked with trucks/lorries/vehicles of some sort so you know the inside scoop
b) my question was super ignorant… but you failed to help enlighten me
… but I have misread you, and I’m sorry. I still don’t understand where the compliment is but I’m not being deliberately obtuse, I was just born that way :wink: .

As for basket ball - I know what it is, but it’s not like I know the rules or anything.

Tea and crumpets sounds like an excellent idea, care to join me?