truck / truck farm

A truck farm has nothing to do with motorized cargo vehicles. The truck in truck farm comes from the noun meaning trade or barter, a word borrowed from the Anglo-Norman truke in the 14th century. From Richard Hakluyt’s 1553 The Principall Navigations, Voiages and Discoueries of the English Nation (published in 1598):

No commutation or trucke to be made by any of the petie marchants, without the assent abouesaid.

In late-18th century America, truck came to mean garden produce or culinary vegetables—those most likely to be traded or brought to market. From the Maryland Journal of 14 December 1784:

A large Room...for his Customers to lodge in, and deposit their Market-truck.

The term truck farm itself appears in Notes & Queries from 1866:

A truck garden, a truck farm, is a market-garden or farm.

The word for the motorized vehicle, on the other hand, is either borrowed from the Latin, and ultimately Greek, trochus, meaning wheel, or from the Anglo-Norman trokle, also meaning wheel or roller. From John Florio’s 1611 Queen Anna’s New World of Words:

Rigolo, a little wheele vsed vnder sleds. Gunners call it a trucke.

By the late-18th century this sense of truck was being used to mean a cart for hauling goods. From the Hull Dock Act of 1774:

Any truck or cart, sledge waggon, dray.

And in the opening decades of the 20th century the word was applied to motorized vehicles for hauling goods.

(Source: Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Edition)

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