What Does Keep On Truckin’ Mean?

Keep on Truckin’ Meaning

Definition: Don’t give up; keep on going.

This expression can be used either as encouragement or as a description.

Origin of Keep on Truckin’

Although this expression was used as early as the 1930s, and may have originated in jazz, it became even more popular in the 1970s.

It is unclear exactly how this expression developed, but some sources speculate that it may be associated with the large trucks that drive for many hours to transport goods across states and across the country.

They must drive for long stretches of time, and therefore are thought of as something that just keeps going.

Examples of Keep on Truckin’

keep on truckin eddie kendricksThis example dialogue involves a mother and her young child discussing whether or not it is time to take a nap.

Mother: Hey! Don’t fall asleep. We just got to the theater.

Young child: I don’t want to fall asleep, but I have to. I’m too tired.

Mother: You don’t have to fall asleep. Just walk with me for a little bit and you’ll wake right up. Come on. Just keep truckin’, and you’ll feel better in no time at all!

keep in truckinA father and his young son talk about the whether or not the son should stay in school or not.

Father: You look terrible. What’s wrong?

Son: I think I’m going to fail this math class. Maybe I should just drop out of school. I need this class to graduate, and if I can’t pass it, there’s no reason why I should waste my time with these other classes.

Father: Don’t say that! You can do it. Just keep truckin’!

Son: I tried to do that already, but I feel hopeless.

Father: Then we’ll get you a math tutor.

Son: Maybe that will help. It can’t hurt to try.

More Examples

This excerpt from an article about a popular band uses the expression to say that the band decided to continue touring even after they said they had finished.

  • After the celebrated “Fare Thee Well” concerts this past summer in Chicago and Santa Clara, Calif., a few former Grateful Dead members decided to keep truckin’. –The Washington Post

The second article uses the expression in a quote to explain that an athlete won’t give up.

  • “I’m not going to stop now. I’m getting too close to what my goal is in life. I just want to keep trucking and keep doing what I can to attribute and play as hard as I can.” –Providence Journal


Keep on truckin’ describes continuing to do as one is doing in order to succeed at something.