"vehicle," 1610s, originally "small wheel" (especially one on which the carriages of a ship's guns were mounted), probably from Latin trochus "iron hoop," from Greek trokhos "wheel," from trekhein "to run" (see truckle (n.)). Sense extended to "cart for carrying heavy loads" (1774), then in American English to "motor vehicle for carrying heavy loads" (1913), a shortened form of motor truck in this sense (1901).
There have also been lost to the enemy 6,200 guns, 2,550 tanks and 70,000 trucks, which is the American name for lorries, and which, I understand, has been adopted by the combined staffs in North-West Africa in exchange for the use of the word petrol in place of gasolene. [Winston Churchill, address to joint session of U.S. Congress, May 19, 1943]
Truck stop is attested from 1956.
Old English hlæder "ladder, steps," from Proto-Germanic *hlaidri (source also of Old Frisian hledere, Middle Dutch ledere, Old High German leitara, German Leiter), from suffixed form of PIE root *klei- "to lean" (source also of Greek klimax "ladder"). In late Old English, rungs were læddrestæfæ and the side pieces were ledder steles. The belief that bad things happen to people who walk under ladders is attested from 1787, but its origin likely is more scientific than superstitious.
"to exchange, barter," early 13c., from Old North French troquer "to barter, exchange," from Medieval Latin trocare "barter," of unknown origin. Rare before 16c. Sense of "have dealings with" is first recorded 1610s. The noun is first recorded 1550s, "act or practice of barter." Sense of "vegetables raised for market" is from 1784, preserved in truck farm (1866).
"to convey on a truck," 1809, from truck (n.). Verbal meaning "dance, move in a cool way," first attested 1935, from popular dance of that name in U.S., supposedly introduced at Cotton Club, 1933. Related: Trucked; trucking.
1530s, "act or practice of barter, trading by exchange," from French troque, from troquer (see truck (v.1)). Sense of "dealings" is from 1620s. "Exchange of commodities, barter," then "commodities for barter and exchange." In this sense the word was given a wide use in 19c. American English: "Truck at first meant market-garden produce; then it came to mean stuff in general, including 'doctor-stuff.' SPUN TRUCK is knitting work" [Thornton, "American Glossary," 1912]. Sense of "vegetables raised for market" is from 1784, preserved in truck farm (1866).
1853, "worker who moves loads using a cart;" agent noun from truck (v.2). Meaning "person who drives a motorized truck" is by 1935, a shortening of truck driver (1907).
1796, echellon, "step-like arrangement of troops," from French échelon "level, echelon," literally "rung of a ladder," from Old French eschelon, from eschiele "ladder," from Late Latin scala "stair, slope," from Latin scalae (plural) "ladder, steps," from PIE *skand- "to spring, leap" (see scan (v.)). Sense of "level, subdivision" is from World War I.