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Electrical Slang A – Z

Lee Ann Ireland6/21/2018

Back in 2017, Electrical Construction & Maintenance (EC&M: began publishing articles called “The World of Electrical Slang”. It was based off the website I picked up on this after their 3rd installation in April and thought it would be fun to share some of these terms with all of you. I went through the website and picked some of my favorites. As you see, I might have a thing for food.

  • Alligator Knob - A tie stick. 
  • Booger Light - Security or emergency lighting fixtures that are typically mounted above driveways and entryways, often fitted with a proximity sensor along with a daylight sensor.
  • Candy Grabbers - Channellock pliers.
  • Donut - Reducing washer to fit a smaller pipe into a conduit entrance.
  • Egg Sucker - An insulated pole, usually made of fiberglass, used by electric utility workers when engaged in live-line working on energized high-voltage electric power lines, to protect them from electric shock.
  • Fox and Hounds - Audible circuit tracer; breaker buzzer.
  • Goulash - Wet cement or concrete.
  • Hug A Bug - Refers to the insulating covers used for multiple tap connectors, parallel taps, T-taps, etc., making for quick installation and labor savings.
  • Idiot Light Tester - This device is useful to quickly determine if a receptacle has power and if there is anything obviously wrong with the wiring.
  • Jolly Rancher - 2 port, 3 ports…etc., connectors for conductors.
  • Knuckle Buster - An adjustable wrench.
  • Lead Head - A nail.
  • Mickey Mouse Key Puller - A cotter key puller.
  • Nutty Putty - Compound sealing putty used to seal connectors.
  • Old Man - An "A" frame transformer gin that is used for lifting.
  • Pogo Stick - Telescoping tools.
  • Quick Bolt - Heavy duty, stainless steel, one-piece expansion bolt that works by compressing the side sleeve against the hole made in concrete or stone.
  • Rabbit - Scrap, leftover, or loose pieces of wire, mainly copper.
  • Smurf - Electrical nonmetallic tubing for fiber optic cable. Though it was originally blue, it now comes in a variety of colors, typically orange.
  • Toothpick - Adjustable sliding scaffold board.
  • Umbrella Bolt - Invented by hardware store owner William H. Rubely in the late 1800's and initially called the "Tuckahoe Toggle Bolt", the toggle bolt has been used whenever you need to mount something to a non-structural, hollow, thin wall where a screw would simply pull right out. A toggle bolt has wings like a butterfly that fold closed against an internal spring to be inserted into the wall. Once through the wall, it snaps open and provides a secure are wide surface area to fasten an object to the wall using the attached a threaded screw.
  • Vinyl Tape - Inexpensive, black vinyl electrical tape.
  • Wire Biter – Electrician.
  • X – Can you imagine there was nothing for the letter X?
  • Y Adapter - Converts 1/2" k/o to hold two lamp holders or bullets.
  • Zip Cord - Two-wire cord used to wire portable lamps.

I hope you enjoyed reading some of the slang terms I pulled together. I am sure it made you think about some other terms you hear or use regularly.