Electrical Slang: Electrician Lingo and Jargon Glossary

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Electrical Slang

What do a "bug" and a "cherry" have in common?

They are both electrical slang terms!

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Scroll through our collection of slang terminology used in the electrical industry!

Whether you are an electrician, contractor, or just someone trying to understand what your local electrician is jabbering about, use the glossary to learn trade slang and electrical jargon.

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Attach wiring devices to this and then this attaches to 4/5" box. Many combos.

Exposed Work Cover Image



This is a ¾" wide galvanized steel band with holes to accommodate nails and bolts. Available with the holes evenly spaced or with alternating small and large holes. It is typically used to hang some kind of pipe from some kind of support system such as strut, wooden studs or simple masonry.

Plumbers Tape Image



These plates are used to conceal mistakes made during the installation or sheet rocking of the wall boxes. If a cutout was made too large or the taping not done properly, there just won't be enough wall behind a normal plate to hide the gap between the wall and the box. A large plate is used for these cases and they come in large and extra-large depending upon how wide the gap is. The part number shown is just to guide you to the correct section of the catalog because these come in multiple gangs, colors and device configurations.

Goof Plate Image



This electrical box is slightly larger than the standard 1900 or 4" box. Called a 5" box because of its 4-11/16" size, it is used for a wide variety of applications where heaver cables are needed or bulky wiring devices require a higher volume box. The part number shown below is only one of many configurations and you need to ask for the size of the knockout (determined by the conduit size) and if the user wants a standard (1-1/2") or a deep (2 1/8") box. This electrical box is usually called a 1900 box because that was the original part number from Bossert almost a hundred years ago. Called a 4" box because of its 4" width, it is the most common box used when a simple switchbox isn't big enough. The part number shown below is only one of many configurations and you need to ask for the size of the knockout (determined by the conduit size) and if the user wants a small (1-1/4"), a standard (1-1/2") or a deep (2 1/8") box. The user also has to specify how it will be mounted: stud ears, etc.

4 11/16" Box Image



This octagon box often gets confused with the mud rings or mud boxes because it has the same shape and bottom studs, but it is for a hung ceiling and doesn't get buried by the concrete. The fixture bars that support it are wired into the lathers channel.

Mud Box Image



The steel conduit hanger is used to secure 1/2" to 4" rigid (GAL) or EMT conduit to some type of support using the hole on top of the hanger. Typically, the pipe is suspended from strut or directly from the concrete using a piece of threaded rod but the hanger is also used to attach conduit directly to an insulator or some other surface. Manufactured by Steel City, Erico (Caddy), Bridgeport and others; the hanger is available with or without the lower bolt and nut. Originally invented by Minneralac in 1904 as the Standard Conduit Hanger.

"I hit my head on another pain hanger."

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OAKUM was once used to seal the cracks between the planks of wooden hulled sailing ships. It is made by impregnating hemp fiber with tar or creosote that binds the hemp together and makes it moisture resistant. Over time, it was adopted to seal air cracks around windows and doors, plug holes that rodents and bats won't chew through and close the openings in walls and floors where cast iron plumbing pipes passes through. Today, it is a relic that is still used for the same purposes but electricians use it to seal holes around electrical piping where the code doesn't require that a firestop be used. When it gets wet, it expands 10 times its dry size. The NUPAK brand uses Bentonite as the impregnating compound. Although not commonly used, it is still stocked in 5lb boxes composed of 2' strands.

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