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I'm listening to the podcast "Over the Drive". Its second episode (transcript found here) starts with the question "When you picture a truck driver what comes to mind?":

When you picture a truck driver what comes to mind? A booted, bearded Bubba with one those caps that says, Peterbilt? Or my personal favorite, those pearl-snapped plaid-shirted prodigies who were big riggin’ before they could even shave.

I don't understand the meaning of rigging here. Cambridge Dictionary tells me it means "the act of arranging dishonestly for the result of something, for example an election, to be changed" or "the ropes that hold and control the sails on a boat or ship". Neither of them seems to make sense in the context.

I also looked up in Urban Dictionary but I didn't find a good explanation there, either.

The podcast was made in the United States so I think "riggin'" here is used in the context of American English.

Anyone can help me?

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  • Note that the cited usage is a non-standard / dialectal / domain-specific colloquial verbification of the already vernacular noun phrase big rig (articulated lorry). Commented Oct 14, 2021 at 12:26
  • @FumbleFingers - let's not forget the Good Ship Venus. Commented Oct 14, 2021 at 15:18

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A "trucking rig is a truck consisting of a tractor and trailer together. In the business of trucking, this is often abbreviated to just a "rig". A "big rig" is a particularly large truck and trailer.

"Big riggin'" is the occupation of driving these large trucking rigs.

As you noted, this is American English terminology - in the UK, large truck rigs are usually called an 'articulated lorry', sometimes abbreviated to an 'artic'.

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Riggin' (rigging) seems to be a verb formed from a noun (rig) which is US slang for an articulated truck, and someone who has been 'big rigging' before they could even shave is someone who has been driving such vehicles since an early age.

Rig noun [C] (TRUCK) mainly US

a truck consisting of two or more parts that bend where they are joined so that the vehicle can turn corners more easily

Rig (noun) (Cambridge Dictionary)

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