Origin of the Phrase "I'll Have No Truck With..."

On a recent episode of The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon said

I had never heard this phrase (regarding plots or any other thing) prior to Sheldon saying it, but I have to admit it doesn’t sound particularly out of the ordinary coming out of Sheldon’s mouth.

Anyway, anyone familiar with this phrase and its origin?

“Truck” has an old meaning “to trade, or exchange with,” so “I’ll have no truck with” means “I’ll have no dealings with” - I’m not surprised Sheldon uses the phrase - he may have heard it from his beloved Grandmother…

Also, a ‘truck patch’ is a small garden where you grow fruits and vegetables for sale.

And “truck farming” is doing the same thing on a larger scale.

So is that where we get the word ‘truck’ meaning ‘vehicle’, presumably originally ‘vehicle carrying goods for sale’?

Australian singer/songwriter Kate Miller-Heidke has a song on her recent album Curiouser called No Truck. The chorus is:

I’m pretty sure it has nothing to do with the vehicle, but with the word “truckling”:

Ran out of time. To “have no truck” is to refuse to truckle, or do another’s bidding (under protest).

Correct up to the ‘carrying goods for sale’ part. A truck was just a big vehicle for carrying any kind of cargo, and before the widespread use of motor vehicles the word could refer to a large wagon with a team of horses.[sup]1[/sup] This is also why the Teamsters Union called themselves that, and why their logo still includes a team of horses as its main prominent motif. Another related usage in the pre-motorization era was for those four-wheeled assemblies at either end of a rail car; this appears to still be current in the railroad industry in the United States.
[sup]1[/sup]See for example the novel McTeague, written by Frank Norris in 1899. In one passage, the characters all go to one of the primitive motion pictures of the time. This is merely a sequence of unrelated scenes of people and objects moving, in this case including a “truck” being driven towards the camera. In 1899 it’s unlikely that it would have been a motor vehicle.

Huh? It’s pretty clear that the word “truck” in this context has far more to do with “truculence” than anything designed to carry a load.


    * S: (n) truculence, truculency (obstreperous and defiant aggressiveness)
          o direct hypernym / inherited hypernym / sister term
                + S: (n) aggressiveness, belligerence, pugnacity (a natural disposition to be hostile)
                      # S: (n) bellicosity, bellicoseness (a natural disposition to fight)
                      # S: (n) truculence, truculency (obstreperous and defiant aggressiveness)
          o derivationally related form
                + W: (adj) truculent [Related to: truculence, truculency] (defiantly aggressive) "a truculent speech against the new government"

Sorry gaffa the others are correct.

Truck was barter for goods, it was insitutionlised in many countries where employers would pay their workers in their own company minted coinage, which could only be redeemed at the company shops. Employers were unscrupulous and would charge extremely high prices, and this would ensure that the employees would end up in debt and so tie the employees down to them.

‘Sixteen tons’ is a song about the truck system.



You will note that in the second link it directly answers the OP’s question.

More than you really wanted toknow about truck trading


The word ‘truck’ stands out in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in which he seems to mean by it “sundries” both concretely and figuratively – both assortments of items or assortments of notions like “book learnin’ and other such truck.”

What’s the trouble with truckles?

Johnny, Huck also said “I’ll have no truck with dead people”

According to the OED, ‘truckle’ was short for truckle-bed, itself a variant of trundle-bed. Since the trundle bed is shoved under the regular high bed when not in use, ‘truckle’ and ‘truckling’ came to refer metaphorically to someone assuming a subservient role.

The verb ‘truckle’ originally meant to sleep in a trundle bed, a lower and less desirable bed than the main one in the room, so the use of ‘truckling’ to denote submissiveness was a natural result.

So, long story short, I don’t think ‘truckling’ has anything to do with having truck. or little pickup trucks, or anything like that.

I thought Jerry Garcia started it.

What a Crumby thing to say …

(Actually, they were probably both referencing “Truckin’ my Blues Away” by Blind Boy Fuller.)

Nothing to do with truckle, and nothing to do with truculence. To truck is to exchange, to barter, to bargain, to negotiate, to deal. Hence, to have no truck with someone requires more than not submitting to him or not engaging in agression with him; it requires having no communication or dealings with him at all. And that is what the phrase means.

It’s evident from this thread that the phrase is not common in the US, but it’s common enough to be unremarkable in Ireland, and its meaning is well understood. To have no truck with someone (or something) is to have nothing to do with him (or it).

Once found a dictionary from 1880. Looked up some common words: COMPUTER: is one who computes (obviously). Then looked up CAR; Slang for Cart (how interesting), then looked up TRUCK: a large cart.

Well, there you go

Huh. I remember that line as something like “I don’t take no stock in dead people.”

That’s another interesting locution, though less mysterious in derivation than the similar “set a lot of store by [something]”.