Where did the term pothole come from?


Have you ever wondered where the term pothole came from? Or what the difference is between a pothole and a chuckhole? There are many questions surrounding the mysterious origins of pothole terminology.

The term pothole was first coined in the early 19th century from the middle english word pot, meaning pit. The word’s origin directly means pit hole. There is uncertainty regarding the origins in different cultures because every country has a different meaning behind the term.

As for the difference between pothole and chuckhole, a pothole is smaller and shallower while a chuckhole is much larger and deeper … some say.

The terms tend to be used synonymously, yet are very different. Potholes are made from wear and tear over time, while chuckholes come from structural defects of the road.

“(It’s called a chuckhole) Probably because it chucks rims and hubcaps off,” Jamie Sichting, Nashville town street superintendent said. “I don’t know the difference.”

If chuckholes are larger, it is highly plausible that they would be more likely to ‘chuck’ parts off of cars like Sichting said.

Others believe that the difference comes from the area and dialect people are used to.

“No difference between pothole and chuckholes,” Mike Magner, Brown County Highway Department Superintendent said. “Just a regional thing like southern accent!”

Well, Nashville, now you know! The next time you hear someone talking about potholes, pay attention to how they describe it because it might just tell you where they’re from.

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