(For the labor union see International Brotherhood of Teamsters)

Teamster driving a team of six horses at the Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany

A teamster, in modern American English, is a truck driver, or a member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, a labor union in the United States and Canada.

Originally, the term "teamster" referred to a person who drove a team of draft animals, usually a wagon drawn by oxen, horses, or mules.[1] This term was common by the time of the Mexican–American War (1848) and the Indian Wars throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries on the American frontier.

In other places, a teamster was known as a carter, referring to the bullock cart.[2]

Another name for the occupation was bullwhacker, related to driving oxen. A teamster might also drive pack animals, such as a muletrain, in which case he was also known as a muleteer or muleskinner. Today this person may be called an outfitter or packer.[3] In Australian English, a teamster was also known as a bullocker or bullocky.


  1. Harper, Douglas. "teamster". Online Etymology Dictionary.
  2. Gunasekera, Jayantha (Feb 9, 2014). "How Kotelawala (Snr) got young brother-in-law killed". The Sunday Times. Sri Lanka.
  3. Shemanski, Frances (1984) "Mule Days Celebration", A Guide to Fairs and Festivals in the United States, Greenwood Press, Westport, Connecticut, p. 15, ISBN 0-313-21437-9

Further reading

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