What’s the difference between a lorry and a truck?

In essence, “lorry” and “truck” are terms for the same type of vehicle: a large motor vehicle designed to carry cargo or passengers. However, the primary difference lies in their usage and origin:

  • Truck: This term is predominantly used in North America, Australia, New Zealand, and some parts of South Africa. It’s the more widely recognized term globally.
  • Lorry: This term is primarily used in British English and some former British colonies, like India, Singapore, and Malaysia.

The terms likely originated from different sources:

  • Truck: Believed to be derived from the verb “to truck,” meaning “to barter or exchange goods,” reflecting the historical use of trucks for transporting goods.
  • Lorry: Possibly derived from the Middle Dutch word “lorrie,” which referred to a flatbed cart or wagon.

Here’s a table summarizing the key points:

OriginNorth AmericaBritish English
Primary UsageGlobalBritish English & some former colonies
MeaningLarge cargo vehicleLarge cargo vehicle

Therefore, understanding the context and regional variations is crucial when encountering these terms. In most cases, they are interchangeable and refer to the same type of vehicle.