Truck - Encyclopedia

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TRUCK. (1) A name for barter, or commodities used in barter or trade. The word came into English from the French troq, mod. troc; troquer, to barter, is borrowed from Spanish trocar, for which several origins have been suggested, such as a Low Latin travicare, the supposed original of "traffic" (q.v.), or some latinized form of Greek Tp07ros, turn; it may, on the other hand, be connected with the Greek TpoXos, wheel. "Truck," in this sense, is chiefly used now in the sense of the payment of the wages of workmen in kind, or in any other way than the unconditional payment of money, a practice known as the "truck system." Colloquially, "truck" is used in the general sense of "dealing," in such expressions as "to have no truck with anyone." The "truck system" has taken various forms. Sometimes the workman has been paid with "portion of that which he has helped to produce," whether he had need of it or not, but the more usual form was to give the workman the whole or part of his wages in the shape of commodities suited to his needs. There was also a practice of paying in money, but with an express or tacit understanding that the workman should resort for such goods as he required to shops or stores kept by his employer. The truck system led in many cases to grave abuses and was made illegal by the Truck Acts, under which wages must be paid in current coin of the realm, without any stipulations as to the manner in which the same shall be expended. (See Labour Legislation.) (2) From the Late Latin trochus, wheel, Greek TpoXos, we get "truck" in the sense of a wheeled vehicle, such as the hand-barrows used for carrying luggage at a railway station; and the word is used generally for all that portion of railway rollingstock which is intended for the carriage of goods (see Railways: Rolling-stock). The term is also used of a circular disk of wood at the top of a ship's mast, generally provided with sheaves for the signal halyards.

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