Posted by James Briggs on July 27, 2003
In Reply to: "No Truck With" to mean "No dealings with" posted by Bruce Kahl on July 26, 2003
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: : : : : : Hi, I've never been to this site before,I'm hoping someone can clear up one of those little mysteries that's been stuck in my head for years.In the movie Jeramiah Johnson, ( a movie about mountain men) Jeramiah's travelling companion wants to attack some indians and Jeramiah says to him; I hold no "truck" with these people.It's obvious that he has no grudge with the indians, but I've always wondered about the origin of the useage.I'm a skilled tradesman not an english professor, any light someone could shed would be appreciated.Bob Yeomans
: : : : : Bob, this was discussed earlier this year - you can find the whole thread if you enter truck in the search box. Here's an extract;
: : : : : TRUCK FARM ? ?Many people share the notion that a ?truck farm? is a farm close enough to urban centers that its produce may be transported by truck to the city. However, there is no connection whatever between truck farms and motor transportation. Long before motor trucks were even dreamed of ? at least as far back as 1785 ? the word ?truck? was used to mean garden vegetables intended for sale in the markets. In fact, we have here an excellent example of the confusion that can develop from homonyms ? words which are identical in spelling and pronunciation but very different in meaning. Often, to unravel the complexities, one has to go back to the root of each word. In this case, the ?truck? that is a vehicle for transporting freight comes from the Greek word ?trochos,? meaning ?wheel.? However, ?truck? meaning originally any commodities for sale and, later, garden produce for market comes from an entirely different root, ?troque,? the Old French word for ?barter.?? From ?Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins? by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins, New York, 1977, 1988).
: : : : Truck -- "...The sense of dealings (as in 'to have no truck with loansharks') is first recorded in English before 1625)..." ?The Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology? by Robert K. Barnhart (HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 1995).
: : : : It sounds like Jeremiah was using "truck" in a slightly different sense. Meaning that he had no score to settle with them, no bone to pick.
: : : He might have meant that he had no "business" with them, no reason to deal with them at all. It's also possible that the screenwriter was trying for something that would sound like a mountain man's style of talking and slipped up.
: : I suspect that the screenwriter had no proper understanding of the word truck. Let's blame the screenwriters for they deserve it, given the amount of nonsense they place in the mouths of actors.
: I googled the phrase "no truck with" and the link below will take you to the results.
: The phrase does seem to mean to have no dealings with.
Truck: To have no truck with someone means to have no dealings with them. Truck comes from the French "troquer" meaning "to barter". From this origin came the truck system from which 'tommy rot' arose.
Tommy rot: That's a load of tommy rot is a way of describing poor quality goods or ideas. The tommy in this instance is said to be slang for bread, provisions etc. I can't find out on what basis, but it is certainly defined as "bread" in the 1811 dictionary. In any case, before the repeal of the Truck law, many employers paid their workers in vouchers which could only be exchanged for goods from company owned shops. The workers had no choice but to accept this type of payment and the goods were frequently of poor quality. Since part of the goods always consisted of bread, then the shops were said to supply tommy rot.