Etymology
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trailer (n.)
1580s, "hound or huntsman that follows a trail," agent noun from trail (v.). From 1610s as "Something that trails." From 1890 as "vehicle pulled by another;" originally a small carriage drawn along by a bicycle. Meaning "preview of a coming movie" first attested 1928. Trailer park "mobile home community" recorded by 1936. Trailer trash in use by 1986.
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semi-trailer (n.)

also semitrailer, 1910 in reference to motor vehicles (late 19c. in botany), from semi- + trailer. The short form semi is attested by 1942.

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tractor (n.)
1856, "something that pulls," from Modern Latin tractor "that which draws," agent noun from past participle stem of Latin trahere "to pull, draw" (see tract (n.1)). Earlier used of a quack device consisting of two metal rods which were supposed to relieve rheumatism (1798, in full Perkins's metallic tractor); still the main sense in Century Dictionary (1891).

Sense of "an engine or vehicle for pulling wagons or plows" is recorded by 1896, from earlier traction engine (1859). The meaning "powerful truck for pulling a freight trailer" is first found 1926; tractor-trailer as "combined motor-truck and trailer" is from 1914.
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jack-knife (n.)
also jackknife, "pocket knife larger than a pen-knife," 1711, probably American English, apparently from some sense of jack (n.). Perhaps it originally was associated with sailors. Jackleg, jacklegged was a U.S. colloquial term of contempt from 1839. Scottish dialect had jockteleg (1670s) "large clasp-knife," of unknown origin, also jackylegs, jack-o-legs. As a kind of swimming dive from 1922; as a type of tractor-trailer accident, 1966; both from the notion of folding, as the knife does.
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mobile (adj.)

late 15c. (Caxton), "capable of movement, capable of being moved, not fixed or stationary," from Old French mobile (14c.), from Latin mobilis "movable, easy to move; loose, not firm," figuratively, "pliable, flexible, susceptible, nimble, quick; changeable, inconstant, fickle," contraction of *movibilis, from movere "to move" (from PIE root *meue- "to push away"). Sociology sense of "able to move into different social levels" is by 1927. Mobile home "large trailer permanently parked and used as a residence" is recorded by 1936. Mobile phone is by 1983.

A long-distance number tapped into an Illinois Bell car telephone glowed red on a display. Satisfied that the digits were correct, I pushed the SEND button on the phone. Familiar beeps and boops emerged from the handset. Then, before a half block of this Chicago suburb had slipped by, I was in contact with my New York office. ["Take-along Telephones," Popular Science, October 1983]
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semi- 

before vowels often sem-, a word-forming element of Latin origin meaning "half," also loosely, "part, partly; partial, almost; imperfect; twice," from Latin semi- "half," from PIE *semi- "half" (source also of Sanskrit sami "half," Greek hēmi- "half," Old English sam-, Gothic sami- "half").

The Old English cognate, sam-, was used in such compounds as samhal "in poor health, weakly," literally "half-whole;" samsoden "half-cooked" ('half-sodden'), figuratively "stupid" (compare half-baked); samcucu "half-dead," etymologically "half-alive" (see quick (adj.)); and the lingering survivor, sandblind "dim-sighted" (q.v.).

The Latin element was common in formations from Late Latin, as in semi-gravis "half-drunk," semi-hora "half hour," semi-mortuus "half-dead," semi-nudus "half-naked," semi-vir "half-man, hermaphrodite."

The Latin-derived form in English has been active in forming native words since 15c. Semi-bousi "half-drunk" ('semi-boozy'), now obsolete, was among the earliest (c. 1400). As a noun, semi has variously been short for semi-detached house (by 1912), semi-trailer (by 1942), semi-final (by 1942).

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