Why is it called a truck?

The exact origin of the word “truck” is not entirely clear, but there are two main theories:

1. From the Greek word “trochos”:

  • This theory suggests that “truck” comes from the Greek word “trochos,” which means “wheel.” This makes sense considering the core function of a truck is to transport goods using wheels.
  • The first known use of “truck” in English, in 1611, referred to the small wheels on ships’ cannon carriages. This early usage aligns with the idea of “truck” being derived from “wheel.”

2. Shortened form of “truckle”:

  • Another theory suggests that “truck” is a shortened form of the word “truckle,” which can mean “wheel, roller, or pulley.” This word ultimately traces back to the Latin word “trochlea,” which also means “pulley.”
  • This theory aligns with the idea that “truck” initially referred to small wheels or casters before being used for carts carrying heavy loads around the 18th century.


  • While both theories are plausible, it’s difficult to definitively determine the exact origin of “truck.” The lack of clear historical documentation makes it challenging to pinpoint the precise source and evolution of the word.
  • Additionally, the word “truck” also has other unrelated meanings, such as a type of vegetable or a verb related to bartering or exchanging goods. These further complicate the task of tracing the origin of the specific meaning associated with vehicles.

In conclusion, while the exact origin of “truck” remains somewhat uncertain, the two most likely explanations point towards its connection to wheels either through the Greek word “trochos” or the English word “truckle,” both ultimately rooted in the concept of rolling or wheeled objects.