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Lorry vs. Truck: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Published on December 8, 2023
Lorry and truck both refer to large motor vehicles designed for carrying goods, but "lorry" is primarily used in British English, while "truck" is used in American English.

Key Differences

A lorry, commonly used in British English, denotes a heavy motor vehicle for transporting goods. In contrast, a truck, the American English term, also refers to a similar vehicle but encompasses a broader range of sizes, including smaller pickups.
The term lorry often implies a larger and heavier vehicle used for commercial purposes, typically seen on highways. Meanwhile, truck in American English can refer to any vehicle from a small pickup to a large eighteen-wheeler.
In terms of design, lorries are often associated with a specific build meant for transporting cargo over long distances. Trucks, however, vary more in design, ranging from rugged off-road vehicles to massive long-haul vehicles.
Usage of the term lorry is usually limited to the UK and some Commonwealth countries. In contrast, truck is universally understood in English-speaking countries, including the US, Canada, and Australia.
Regarding licensing, driving a lorry in the UK requires specific heavy goods vehicle licenses. In the US, truck drivers need commercial driving licenses, especially for larger trucks.

Comparison Chart

Geographical Usage

Predominantly British English
Primarily American English

Vehicle Size

Generally larger, heavy vehicles
Includes a range from small pickups to large vehicles

Design Focus

Built for cargo transport, especially over long distances
More varied, including off-road and long-haul designs


Requires heavy goods vehicle licenses in the UK
Requires commercial driving licenses in the US

Cultural Connotation

Often seen as a symbol of British road transport
Iconic in American culture, especially the pickup

Lorry and Truck Definitions


A British term for a truck, especially a large one.
He drives a lorry for a living.


A motor vehicle designed to transport cargo.
The truck arrived with our supplies early in the morning.


A road vehicle typically used for freight transport.
A lorry delivered our new refrigerator today.


A vehicle varying in size, used mainly for goods transportation.
A small truck is perfect for moving house.


A large, heavy motor vehicle for transporting goods.
The lorry carried furniture across the country.


In American English, a term for a vehicle carrying freight.
He drives a truck across state lines.


A commercial vehicle for cargo, prevalent in British English.
The lorry was parked outside the warehouse.


A commonly used term in the US for a lorry.
The food truck parked outside serves delicious tacos.


A vehicle for heavy load transportation, common in the UK.
The construction site was filled with lorries carrying materials.


A road vehicle, especially in the US, for heavy loads.
The truck hauled a large shipment across the highway.


A motor truck.


Any of various heavy motor vehicles designed for carrying or pulling loads.


A hand truck.


What does truck mean?

A truck is a motor vehicle for carrying goods, commonly used in American English and varying in size.

What is a lorry?

A lorry is a large motor vehicle designed for transporting goods, primarily used in British English.

Can a truck be a small vehicle?

Yes, in American English, trucks range from small pickups to large freight vehicles.

Do trucks in the US only carry freight?

No, trucks in the US vary and can be used for various purposes, including personal use.

Is a heavy goods vehicle the same as a lorry?

Yes, in British English, a heavy goods vehicle is another term for a lorry.

Are lorries only used in the UK?

Lorries are mainly used in the UK and some Commonwealth countries.

Is a lorry the same as a truck?

Essentially yes, but lorry is British English, while truck is American English.

Is the term 'lorry' used outside of the UK?

It's less common, but some other English-speaking countries may use 'lorry'.

Are lorries typically bigger than trucks?

Lorries are often associated with larger vehicles, but trucks in the US can be equally large.

Can lorries be used for passenger transport?

Lorries are primarily designed for goods transport, not for passengers.

Do truck drivers in the US require special training?

Yes, they often require a commercial driving license and training, especially for larger trucks.

Are trucks used for personal or commercial purposes?

Trucks in the US are used for both personal (like pickups) and commercial purposes.

Are lorries used for long-distance transport?

Yes, lorries in the UK are often used for long-distance goods transport.

Do you need a special license to drive a lorry?

Yes, in the UK, driving a lorry requires a heavy goods vehicle license.

Are American trucks different in design from British lorries?

Yes, there can be design differences, especially in smaller trucks and pickups.

Do lorries have different sizes?

Yes, while typically large, lorries can vary in size depending on their use.

Are trucks in the US only for commercial use?

No, trucks in the US are widely used for both commercial and personal purposes.

Is the term 'truck' understood in the UK?

Yes, while 'lorry' is more common, 'truck' is also understood in the UK.

Is a pickup truck the same as a lorry?

No, a pickup truck is typically smaller and is a common type of truck in the US.

Can a truck be used off-road in the US?

Yes, some trucks in the US are designed for off-road use.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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