Origin of 'diesel' implying a muscular build?

I heard at the gym today someone call another ‘diesel’ because he thought the other person had an extreme muscular build. Please inform me on the origins of this. I know it’s slang, and probably has to do with mack trucks or something… but if someone knows specifically, that’d be great.

Probably more likely Vin Diesel who is known almost solely for his muscular build, and who is known to work out in the gym for three hours A DAY.


The first use of the term in print appears in in the late 1950’s in reference to Lesbians. “Diesel Dyke” was the term.

I’ll leave it for others to characterize the term further. But I have no doubt that that’s where it originated.

Isn’t there a line of clothes called “Diesel” which featured muscular male models in their advertising?

Diesel models are a bit closer to heroin chic, but they are ‘physically fit’

West Side Story (1961 film, based on an earlier stage musical) featured a character named “Diesel” who was the strongest member of the Jets gang. It’s not clear where playwright Arthur Laurents got the name, but the timing is at least comparable to the first appearance of “diesel dyke”. Considering the connection of the word “diesel” to large powerful engines, using it as a generic-tough guy name seems obvious enough.

Which would explain why Mark Vincent would change his name to Vin Diesel.