What Is a Bobtail Truck?by Elizabeth Tumbarello
The world of trucking seems to have a language all of its own. Trucker slang refers to equipment used in the industry and the terms referring to specific equipment or events that occur on the job.
In traditional use, the term "bobtail" refers to an animal with a shortened or docked tail, as noted by Merriam Webster's Online Dictionary.
In the trucking industry, a bobtail truck refers to a cab or tractor that isn't attached to or hauling anything.
The phrase "bobtail" dates back to 1605 as noted by Merriam Webster's Online Dictionary. It is unclear when the phrase was first used in the trucking industry.