Posted by James Briggs on April 30, 2001
In Reply to: Re: "To have little truck with..." posted by Bruce Kahl on April 30, 2001
: : I have heard a lot of American rural people say something like "he's not a type I've had much truck with". Any idea exactly what this means, or where the expression comes from? Thanks. - Patty
: I dont know the origin but it means "to have no patience with" as in "I have little truck with the Windows OS as it crashes at least 2x a day".
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.
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.