Keep On Truckin’ – Idiom Meaning and Origins

When we encounter obstacles blocking our path, what should we do? The idiom “keep on truckin” suggests that persistence is essential for pushing through challenges. On this page, we will explore the meaning and origins of this expression, and discover any insights it has to offer.

What Does “Keep On Truckin'” Mean?

To persevere despite any difficulties or setbacks. The meaning of keep on truckin’ is to continue moving forward even when faced with challenging obstacles, and it implies that one should not give up. Here are three key points to consider for the meaning of this phrase:

What It Means

1. Keep on truckin’ means the act of persisting with one’s efforts, regardless of the challenges that may arise.

2. Just as a truck keeps on pushing towards its destination, people are advised to press on and remain resilient in the face of adversity.

3. The phrase “keep on truckin'” acknowledges that hardships and setbacks can occur. It expresses the thought of persevering and maintaining a positive attitude, which can help overcome them.

Similar: This idiom is also said as “keep trucking along.” It’s similar to other sayings such as “hang in there” and “keep your chin up.”

Example: I have had several unexpected setbacks on this project. However, I am going to keep on truckin’ and stay focused on my work.

The expression keep on truckin'.

The Origin of “Keep On Truckin'”

If you have some prior driving experience, then you’re probably familiar with the sight of large trucks on the road. Their sheer size makes them hard to miss. Semi-trucks are commonly used to transport cargo from one location to another, even during adverse weather conditions like rain or snow. Therefore, the phrase “keep on truckin'” likely originated from the tenacious nature of trucks, which relentlessly move forward to their destinations.

Just as a truck persists in moving forward despite obstacles, a person who keeps truckin’ shows the same determination to push ahead and not give up.

This expression was used in a 1936 song called “Truckin’ My Blues Away” by Blind Boy Fuller. According to Wikipedia, the phrase originated from that song. Its oldest appearance in print that I could find is from the Australian newspaper The Herald, published in 1938:

“Keep on Truckin’ while you may.”

Tip: We have many idiomatic expressions that you can read about just like this one. If you’re unfamiliar with what those are, check out our idioms with sentences and examples page, as it will help you learn about them.

Examples and Sentences

Here are some examples for this phrase that show how it can be used in a sentence:


1. After a rough night’s sleep, John now has to get ready for work. Although it’s not an ideal start to the day, he’s determined to keep on truckin’ despite his lack of energy.

2. Since arriving at the lake, I haven’t caught a single fish. But I’ll continue to keep on truckin’ and cast my line in the hopes of catching something soon.

3. I noticed that my workmate struggles with cold weather. I hope he keeps trucking along until the temperature warms up.

Are you ready for this next group of sentences? The following examples replace the phrase with another, similar expression:


1. The final test is just around the corner, so hang in there, you’re almost through it.

2. Learning a musical instrument is overwhelming at first, but don’t give up. It takes considerable time to build experience.

3. The recovery process may be slow, but stay the course. You’ll be back on your feet before you know it.

In the examples above, notice the challenge that is presented in each of the sentences. Then observe how “keep on truckin'” and similar expressions are used to convey the thought of persevering in the face of such challenges.

Synonyms For Keep On Truckin’

If you’re looking for some synonymous phrases for this idiom, consider using one of these:

1. Keep your chin up
2. Hang in there
3. Tough it out
4. Keep your eyes on the prize
5. Stay the course
6. Press on
7. Don’t give up
8. Keep the ball rolling

Next time you want to encourage someone to persevere, you can use “keep on truckin'” or one of its synonyms, such as “keep your chin up,” “tough it out,” or “don’t stop now.” Speaking of pressing on, there are plenty more common sayings to discover on here, so take a moment to look at the ones below.