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Posted by James Briggs on September 28, 2000

In Reply to: Lorry posted by ESC on September 27, 2000

: : : Does anyone know why a lorry is called a lorry? (Lorry being what we in the U.S. call a truck.) I saw this question on another forum. I checked all my references and came up with zero. Even OED said the origin of the word was "obscure."

: : I looked on the Britannica web site. This all it says, under TRUCK, but on a search for LORRY:

: : "also called LORRY any motor vehicle designed to carry freight or goods or to perform special services such as fire fighting. The truck was derived from horse-driven wagon technology, and some of the pioneer manufacturers came from the wagon business. Because of their speed and flexibility, trucks have come to carry a quarter of the intercity freight in the United States, and they enjoy an almost total monopoly in intracity freight delivery."

: : Not much help, I'm afraid.

: It may turn out to be one of those "unsolved mysteries." The site where I found the inquiry was Word for Word forum --

Hoad's English Etymology states:
"Lorry,Lurry: long waggon with no sides. XIX. Of unknown origin."
It looks as if no one knows!