Electrician Jargon

My father is an electrician and over the years I've picked up on much of the jargon that electrician's use. The words in this vocabulary might baffle you, but are used daily by electricians all over the United States:

PhraseMeaning
11B boxA 4 11/16 square junction box.
1900 boxA 4 square junction box.
8BAn eight-sided junction box.
armor-cladArmored cable that comes preloaded with conductors. This type of cable has a reputation for being unsafe.
anti-dogA bubble level that attaches to the end of a pipe.
back stabberA person that uses the "quick-connect" slots in the back of a duplex outlet to install wires instead of the screw terminals on the side. Such a person is said to be lazy; it saves a few seconds, but derates the outlet to only 15 amps. Bob Vila has a nice picture illustrating the difference.
ballastElectrical current regulator on fluorescent lamps. If you ever hear an annoying buzzing sound from your office lights, then it most likely has a bad ballast.
BXArmored cable. See: armor-clad
dikesAngled side-cutters. The name comes from diagonal cutting pliers.
fish tapeA spool of spring steel that is used to pull wires through inaccessible areas such as walls.
hog headA large die on a pipe threader
homerunWire that goes directly to the service panel.
horse cockExplosion proof flexible conduit.
J-boxElectrical junction box. Usually conduit is secured to the sides and wire splices are made inside.
racewayBasket tray where cables are placed to ease the installation of maintenance of cabling.
ponyA drive motor for a pipe threader (see: hog head)
romexA brand-name used as a generic term for non-metallic sheathed wire (NM-B).
scotch lockTwist wire connector. Name originally borrowed from the 3MTM ScotchlokTM brand.

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