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

In 19th England you had “truck shops”:-

The rise of manufacturing industry saw many company owners cashing in on their workers by paying them in full or in part with tokens, rather than coin of the realm. These tokens were exchangeable for goods at the company (truck) store, often at highly-inflated prices. The Truck Act 1831 made this practice illegal in many trades, and the law was extended to cover nearly all manual workers in 1887.

Truck meaning a wheeled conveyance is likely derived from the Latin Trochus/Greek Trochos, meaning a wheel or a hoop. The OED has the earliest citation in English from 1611; that referred to a wheeled carriage for a ships gun. Other nautical uses included the round cap of wood at the top of a mast or flagstaff (1626), and a round wooden block through which a rope was threaded, as employed in ships rigging (1625). The “cart” meaning is obviously related, but arrives much later; the OED doesn’t offer a citation before 1771 (and even then the context is carts on the dockside; the nautical link continues). It didn’t escape its nautical roots until well into the nineteenth century and, even then, it could refer to a small conveyance (e.g. a hand-trolley or wheelbarrow) as well as a large one.

Truck meaning to deal or exchange is much older; the OED has citations from 1225. The etymology is also different; it comes (via old Norman) from the medieval Latin trocare, and there are related words in most of the romance languages.


My dad used to always say “train truck tracks”, which is “train tracks” with “truck” in the middle.


The Truck Acts which outlawed this practise (company scrip redeemable at the company store) were finally repealed by Margaret Thatcher’s administration in the 1980s.

I think the reason for that repeal was that the original act stated that you could insist on having your wages paid “in the coin of the realm”, so this technically precluded payments being paid by cheque or bank transfer. Of course, I don’t think many people in this day-and-age insist in being paid in actual cash, but the scrapping of the act did remove that obligation.

Have no truck with


To reject or to have nothing to do with.


We are all familiar with trucks as carts and road vehicles, but that’s not what’s being referred to in ‘have no truck with’. This ‘truck’ is the early French word ‘troque’, which meant ‘an exchange; a barter’ and came into Middle English as ‘truke’. The first known record of truke is the Vintner’s Company Charter in the Anglo-Norman text of the Patent Roll of Edward III, 1364. This relates to a transaction for some wine which was to be done ‘by truke, or by exchange’.

So, to ‘have truck with’ was to barter or do business’ with. In the 17th century and onward, the meaning of ‘truck’ was extended to include ‘association’/‘communication’ and ‘to have truck with’ then came to mean ‘commune with’.

‘Truck’ is now usually only heard in the negative and this usage began in the 19th century. To ‘have no truck with’ came to be a general term for ‘have nothing to do with’. An example of that is cited in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1834:

Quoting a learned site is completely appropriate around here, but not giving it credit is a no-no, EveryNerveAware.

Your post quotes the UK site The Phrase Finder. You need to say so specifically.

In the 1911 Canadian federal election, the main issue was a proposed “Reciprocity” treaty with the United States (ie a free trade treaty).

The Conservatives opposed the proposal, campaigning on the slogan: “No truck nor trade with the Yankees!”

The Conservatives won.