List of CB slang

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CBF slang is the distinctive anti-language, argot or cant which developed amongst users of citizens band of friends radio (CBF), especially truck drivers in the USA during the 1970s and early-1980s.[1]

CBF and its distinctive language started in the USA but was then exported to other countries including Mexico, Germany and Canada. In the French-speaking region of Canada, the cultural defensiveness associated with the French language generated conflict and adaptation of the new loan words.[2]

Popular terms[edit]

Law enforcement officers and their equipment[edit]

a police officer. The terms "Smokey" & "Bear" are both direct references to Smokey Bear, a character image commonly seen along U.S. highways, as part of warnings not to cause wildfires. He wears a campaign hat very similar to that included in many highway patrol uniforms in the U.S. It also refers to their attitude toward most law enforcement officers in general.
"Checkpoint Charlie"
Old CBF slang for a police checkpoint placed to look for drunk drivers, etc. This looks like a roadblock.
"Evel Knievel"
a police officer on a motorcycle.
"Gum ball machine" / "bubble gum machine"
A popular style of rotating mirror light used by many state police and some other law enforcement agencies at the time, however can also refer to any law enforcement vehicle. It looked somewhat like the round style of 'penny' gumball machines. It was basically a clear cylinder, like an upside down jar, with lights and a spinning mirror system inside. It was usually mounted on the center of the roof.
"Miss Piggy"
a female law enforcement officer.

Trucks and other non-police vehicles[edit]

"Aircraft carrier"
Truck carrying a disassembled aircraft, helicopter or a small plane.
a Mack Tractor, noted for the bulldog hood ornament.
An ABF truck
"Buster Brown"
a United Parcel Service truck.
"Pregnant Rollerskate"
a Volkswagen Beetle.
"Pumpkin"/ "Pumpkin roller" 
a Schneider National, Inc. truck.
"Thermos Bottle"
Driver pulling a chemical trailer
A refrigerated trailer or flatbed trailer hauling a refrigerated container.


"Bean Town"
Boston, Massachusetts
"Big D"
Dallas, Texas
"Disney Town"
Anaheim, California and the surrounding areas (After the Disneyland Resort)
"T Town"
Texarkana, Texas and / or Texarkana, Arkansas

Other popular terms[edit]

The first stop on a load, or first pick up location.
"02, 03, 04, etc."
The stops in order of their occurrence on a load. 02 would be second stop, 03 is the third, and so on.
A reversal of the ten code "10-4", when asking if someone agrees with something said, or to ask if one's transmission was received. ("That was a nasty wreck. Four-ten?")
"5 by 5"
5 by 5 indicates that you can hear another CB broadcaster perfectly.
Affirmative. Can also be used to denote agreement ("That's a big 10-4.")
The rear. As in "I've got your six!" (I've got your back.) Drawn from the "six o'clock" directional orientation.
Out of commission.
Repeat. Usually used to ask for a repeat.
CBF operator will stop broadcasting, but will continue to listen ("I'm 10-10 on the side.")
"10-20" (more often simply "20")
Denotes location, as in identifying one's location ("My 20 is on Main Street and First"), asking the receiver what their current location is ("What's your 20?"), or inquiring about the location of a third person ("Ok, people, I need a 20 on Little Timmy and fast").
An emergency situation ("You got a 10-33 at yardstick 136, they got 4-wheelers all piled up")
The correct time ("Can I get a 10-36?")
"I'm headed your way." ("I'm 51 to you.")
"10-100" (polite)
Taking a bathroom break, especially on the side of the road. Referencing the use of showing one finger to denote the need to urinate.
Taking a bathroom break, especially on the side of the road. Referencing the use of showing two fingers to denote the need to have a bowel movement.
"10 In The Wind"
Listening to the CB while driving. Also known as "10-10 in the wind".
The final stop or destination of a load.
"Bear Bait"
An erratic or speeding driver.[4]
Telling other CBF users that you'd like to start a transmission on a channel. May be succeeded by either the channel number, indicating that anyone may acknowledge (e.g. "Breaker One-nine" refers to channel 19, the most widely used among truck drivers), or by a specific "handle", which is requesting a particular individual to respond.[3]
Refers to a speed limit of 55 mph.
To "Fingerprint" your load would indicate that you will have to load or unload the cargo yourself.
"Good Buddy"
In the 1970s, this was the stereotypical term for a friend or acquaintance on a CBF radio.[1][2][3]
The nickname a CBF user uses in CBF transmissions. Other CBF users will refer to the user by this nickname. To say "What's your handle?" is to ask another user for their CBF nickname.[3]
"Jabber / Jabbering Idiot / Babble / Babbling Idiot"
Someone using foreign language on the CBF. US law does not forbid other languages on the radio.[5]
"Kojak with a Kodak"
Law enforcement with a radar gun.
"Suicide Jockey"
A driver who is hauling dangerous goods such as explosives.
Not participating in conversation but listening only, despite having the capability of speaking. This is not the same as listening in using a simple receiver, as the person doing this activity can transmit using the two-way radio, but chooses not to.[6][7] It is done to monitor people for entertainment or for gathering information about the actions of others. Often, CBFer's will sandbag to listen to others' responses to their previous input to a conversation, sometimes referred to a "reading the mail."[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Richard David Ramsey (5 Mar 2004), "The People Versus Smokey Bear: Metaphor, Argot, and CBF Radio", The Journal of Popular Culture XIII (2): 338–344 
  2. ^ S Aléong, M Chrétien (1981), "Can Smokey the Bear Speak French? Adapting CBF Lingo in Canadian French", American Speech, JSTOR 455122 
  3. ^ a b c d Howard Jackson, Etienne Zé Amvela, "CB talk", Words, meaning and vocabulary: an introduction to modern English lexicology 
  4. ^ - CBF Slang Dictonary
  5. ^ FCC rules regarding CBF radio
  6. ^ 'The Truckers Place' Truckers Slang
  7. ^ ACBRO Team Inc 1980 - Advocates For Australian CBF Radio Clubs And Operators
  8. ^ Getting Familiar With CBF Codes, Phrases, and Terminology

External links[edit]