3rd March 2020

Why Do The British Say Lorry

British people say lorry because it is thought to have originated from the verb, ’lurry’ - meaning to lug or pull about. Reports suggest that this dates back to the 17th century, a long time before the HGV industry was established.

So, is lorry a British word?

Lorry was initially used in Britain to categorise a low-loading trolley, pulled by a horse-drawn vehicle to carry vehicles and other large loads. This is likely to have been the first transport lorry on British roads.

(A horse-drawn fire engine from 1900)

The name for an HGV has been a longstanding Anglo-American debate. Across the pond, Americans often wonder, why do the British say lorry? But in reality, lorry and truck are now known to mean the same thing.

Truck is more commonly used in American English and the etymology of the word is also believed to have stemmed from the 17th century, when referring to the small strong wheels on ships’ cannon carriages. The word developed into the description for carts that carried heavy loads - rather similar to the British lorry.

(A ship’s cannon carriage model)

The Collins Dictionary proves that the two words have identical meanings.

Lorry - noun

(British English)

’A large vehicle that is used to transport goods by road’

Truck - noun

(American English)

’A large vehicle that is used to transport goods by road’

So, why do the British still say lorry and Americans say truck? The evidence suggests that the main reason is the differences in national vocabulary. Lorry/truck, boot/trunk, bonnet/hood - Londoners fill up with petrol, New Yorkers stop at the gas station. Brits have one word, Americans have another and they both mean the same thing.

They both have origin stories, but the reason the British say lorry and Americans say truck is because each word is engrained in their national language. Lorry and truck have both been used to describe the HGVs that have been essential to our society since the early 20th century.

How SNAP can help lorry’s and trucks

If you are a lorry, or a truck driver and would like to make your driving life easier, SNAP Account is the solution. You will never have to carry cash and collect receipts again, plus you will have access to a wide array of extra parking and washing locations throughout Europe. Visit snapacc.com to find more information.

Josh Cousens | SNAP. 

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