The iconic “breaker breaker 1-9” code phrase was monumental in terms of defining the trucker radio subculture in the earlier generations (especially around 1970’s). Such a term (and other words and phrases mentioned earlier) has been a recurring theme in movies and pop music during the succeeding decades.
The “breaker breaker 19” meaning pertains to a speech protocol used to politely interrupt an ongoing conversation on the citizen’s band radio (CB). Read below to know how and when this phrase is used in communication.
Breaker Breaker 19 Meaning and Purpose
By uttering the phrase “breaker breaker one nine,” the group of people having a dialogue or conference on Channel 19 will know that a new voice is asking their permission to join their ongoing chat.
Similar to online conferences today that involve multiple participants, the general operating principle requires one person to speak while the rest listens.
Channel 19 of the CB radio is the frequency that truckers closely follow, functioning as a direct line of real-time communication (e.g., highway emergency updates). A more private conversation between two people is also possible by switching to a channel with less voice traffic (e.g., Channel 30 and up). In this specific case, Channel 19 operates as an initial meeting point.
Other Trucker Slang and CB Lingo
Roughly 73 percent of the freight weight in the United States is being transported by land via the trucking industry. In fact, without truck drivers, America’s stores will be completely out of stock in a matter of days (3 days to be exact). This is the extent of tangible contribution trucking gives to modern society.
Curiously, the positive benefits they bring go beyond practical utility. In fact, their own subculture even created a curious addition to the English-speaking vocabulary. The “breaker breaker 19” meaning is just one of the popular lexical-oral innovations.
Here are some of the trucker slang words, code phrases, and trucker lingo sentences used while driving…
|Term / Phrase||Meaning|
|Back it down||Expression: “Slow down.”|
|Bambi||Warning: Sight of a deer (dead or alive)|
|Boulevard||Notice: Interstate road|
|Gator||Warning: Pieces of tire strewn on the road that causes serious damage to the truck when run over (these tires look like an alligator).|
|Go to the Harley||Expression: “Tune in to Channel 1 (of CB radio).”|
|Go to the Sesame Street||Expression: “Tune in to Channel 19 (of CB radio).”|
|Granny lane||Notice: Slower right lane of the multi-lane highway or interstate.|
|Greasy||Warning: Icy or slippery road|
|Hundred dollar lane||Warning: Prohibited lane (usually a far-left lane) in a heavily populated area.|
|In my back pocket||Direction: Pertaining to the location after passing over it.|
|Keep a shiny side up||Expression: “Have a safe trip.”|
|Mash your motor||Expression: “Go faster!” or “Speed it up!”|
|Pay the water bill||Notice: To stop for a bathroom break|
|Plenty of protection||Warning: Area with heavy police supervision|
|On your donkey||Direction: “Behind you”|
|Road pizza||Warning: Sight of a ran-over dead animal on the side of the road (i.e. roadkill)|
|Schneider eggs||Warning: Sight of orange cones in a construction area|
|See you on the flip-flop||Expression: “See you on the way back or on my return (U-turn) trip.”|
|Ten Four (10-4)||Expression: “Affirmative” or “Yes/Agreed”|
|Ten One (10-1), Ten Nine (10-9)||Expression: “Receiving [message] poorly. Please repeat.”|
|Toothpicks||Warning: Load of lumber on a flatbed truck ahead. Close proximity with these vehicles can cause terrible traffic accidents.|
|Through the woods||Notice: Exiting the interstate to enter into smaller roads|
Truckers also have quirky replacement terms for other vehicles, locations, and even other persons (especially those tuned in on the CB radio). These are:
|Trucker Lingo||Standard English|
|Anteater||Kentworth T-600 (truck).|
|Base Station / Unit||CB radio that is set in a fixed location (e.g. office).|
|Bean Popper||Truck driver who takes pills.
Note: Truck drivers are known to consume drugs in order to deal with a wide range of sleep-related disorders. Some of these drugs are also illegal.
||Police Officer (or other law enforcer)
|Bull Hauler||Livestock hauler truck.|
|CB Rambo (or Rambo)||Alias given to a verbally hostile person on the CB radio.|
|Cheese Wagon||Yellow school bus.|
|Chicken Coop||Weigh station.|
|Crotch Rocket||Motorcycle built for speed (e.g. grand prix bike), the opposite of a cruiser bike (e.g. Harley Davidson).|
|Dragon Wagon||Tow truck.|
|Driver||Alias given to any anonymous person who joins the Channel 19 of the CB radio prior to giving their name or radio call sign.
Note: there are also CB handles prevalent among many members of trucker radio communities.
|Dry Box||Unrefrigerated freight trailer.|
|Garbage Hauler||Produce hauler truck.|
|General Mess of Crap||GMC truck.|
|Home 20||The driver’s residence.|
|Ratchet Jaw||Alias given to a talkative person on the CB radio.|
|Reefer||Refrigerated van trailer.|
|Roller Skate||Any small car (e.g. Picanto sedan).|
|Thermos Bottle||Tank trailer (e.g. fuel truck).|
The trucker radio community not only has a long history (dating back as early as the 1940’s), it continues to thrive today as a unique space for a wider society of recreational radio broadcasting enthusiasts.
If you want to take the challenge of joining the trucker radio clique, familiarization with the “breaker breaker 19” meaning and all of these illustrated slang words and phrases is a fundamental preparatory step.
Hello! I am Hart, the content writer and editor here at G0HWC. I used to be in the same local radio club with Howe, and he convinced me to join him in spreading my love for the radio with others. With a background in radio studies, I spend every day crafting accurate, easy to read content on various topics related to owning and using radios. I hope that my content can help you confidently venture in your radio journey!