- a powerful motor-driven vehicle with large, heavy treads, used for pulling farm machinery, other vehicles, etc.
- Also called truck tractor. a short truck with a driver's cab but no body, designed for hauling a trailer or semitrailer.
- something used for drawing or pulling.
- a propeller mounted at the front of an airplane, thus exerting a pull.
- Also called tractor airplane.an airplane with a propeller so mounted.
Origin of tractor
- a motor vehicle used to pull heavy loads, esp farm machinery such as a plough or harvester. It usually has two large rear wheels with deeply treaded tyres
- a short motor vehicle with a powerful engine and a driver's cab, used to pull a trailer, as in an articulated lorry
- an aircraft with its propeller or propellers mounted in front of the engine
Word Origin and History for truck-tractor
1856, "something that pulls," earlier used of a quack device consisting of two metal rods which were supposed to relieve rheumatism (1798, in full Perkins's metallic tractor), from Medieval Latin tractor, from stem of Latin trahere "to pull, draw" (see tract (n.1)).
Sense of "an engine or vehicle for pulling wagons or plows" is recorded by 1896, from earlier traction engine (1859). The meaning "powerful truck for pulling a freight trailer" is first found 1926; tractor-trailer is attested from 1949.