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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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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.

Oakum Image



Mounting switch boxes in beaverboard, sheetrock or other drywall.



Rectangular box that a piece of 1/2" through 4" PVC is put into so it can be heated to the point where it can be bent for offsets, saddles, bends, etc. As compared to the PVC BLANKET, the HOT BOX bends a longer section of pipe and covers a wider range of sizes in one product. The PVC BLANKET, however, is smaller and more portable. To make bends, the electrician puts the pipe into the box, powers on the unit, rotates the pipe while it heats-up and waits for the pipe to become flexible. The pipe is then removed from the box and bent into the appropriate shape.

PVC Bender Image



This is a safety and securing device used in cable pulling applications. The figure-eight design opens sideways and once connected to the pulling equipment, it won't open because it snaps shut. NOTE: The sister hook is made from malleable iron and will be the weakest link if used with steel devices. They are sold in sizes by the eye opening and each size has a different safe pulling load before it will shatter. They are available in 9/16" (430lbs) through 1 1/16" (2065lbs).

Sister Hook Image



A tie stick.

Alligator Knob Image



Pre-frabricated 6" piece of BX with connector to quickly wire-up light fixtures.



Short elbow w/cover on back. Either threaded or S. S., and male, female or both ends.


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