The Welder’s Slang Dictionary

Slang in the Welding Industry

Welding Slang: How to Talk the Talk Like a Pro

Every industry has its own secret language and welding is no exception.

This can make life difficult for those outside the industry or the novice looking to learn more about the trade. In order to make things easier for you, we’ve gathered a list of the most common slang words and terms used in the welding industry. This list is non-region specific and some terms may have different meanings depending on the location or context in which they are used.

By the time you’re done reading this, you’ll be speaking the welder’s language with the best of them!

Our Dictionary of Welding Slang Terms & Definitions

Alligator Cut: A poor quality cut done with a torch that looks like an alligator chewed on it.

Arc Burn: Photokeratitis.

Arkansas Bell Hole: A pipe weld performed in the 6G position.

Back Purge: A process of filling the back side of a weld joint with a shielding gas (usually argon) to prevent contamination.

Backer: A plate or tool or strip of material placed behind the opening of a weld joint.

BBs: Small balls of spatter usually generated when MIG welding.

Bell Hole: A large hole dug around a pipe which allows safe and easy access to the work area.

Bird Nest: A jumbled ball of welding wire usually caused by a feeding problem.

Bird Poop: A poor quality weld that has the appearance of bird poop.

Blackballed: Banned from working on a particular job or for a particular company.

Brother-in-Law Weld: A weld done by two welders at the same time, usually on large diameter pipe.

Bubble Gum: A poor quality weld that looks like chewed bubble gum.

Busted Out: Failed a weld test.

Buzz Box: An arc welder which uses alternating current.

Cap: The last bead laid on a multi pass weld, typically in pipe fitting.

Coupon: A section of a welded joint which is cut out for destructive testing.

Cup: A TIG welding nozzle.

Dingleberry: An unsightly ball of spatter hanging off a weld.

Downhill: Welding vertically from top to bottom.

Drag Up: To quit a job abruptly without giving prior notice.

Fill: A weld bead laid after the root, but before the cap on a multi pass weld, typically in pipe fitting.

Fish Eye: A type of weld defect (usually a pin hole at the end of a bead) that resembles a fish eye.

Fish Plate: A reinforcing plate on top of a butt weld that adds strength and diffuses stress risers.

Flash Burn: Photokeratitis.

Frying Bacon: The sound of a MIG weld when it the settings are dialed in properly.

Golden Arm: A welder with excellent technique who produces top quality welds.

Grasshopper: See “Third Hand”. Also, a device for grounding when pipe welding.

Heliarc: An old school term for TIG welding when helium was the primary shielding gas.

Highway Tight: To secure all the equipment on a mobile welding rig prior to departing the jobsite.

Mortar Board: See “Mud Board”.

Mud Board: A piece of wood a welder lays on to position themselves out of the mud during pipeline work.

Pancake: A type of fixed shade welding helmet that is flat and round on the front like a pancake.

Pipeliner: A type of fixed shade welding helmet commonly used in pipeline work.

Potato Face: A welder suffering from photokeratitis. Putting sliced raw potatoes on the eyes is said to bring relief.

Puddle: The liquified or molten portion of the weld.

Pup: A short piece of pipe used to fill a gap between two pieces that are too far apart to weld.

Rose Bud: A generic term for a heating tip.

Rig: A mobile welding truck.

Root: The first bead laid in a multiple pass weld, typically in pipefitting.

Roustabout: A laborer or unskilled worker.

Run Off: To get fired from a welding job.

Shooting A Weld: Performing x-ray inspection of a weld joint.

Slag: Flux which has cooled and solidified on top of a weld bead.

Smile: A warp in a pipe flange.

Spatter: Small bits of molten metal generated by the welding process which become deposited on the torch and nearby surfaces.

Spoon: A device used as a backer for filling holes with weld, typically in body work.

Stacking Dimes: A TIG weld that looks like a line of dimes partially stacked on top of each other.

Stencil: A mark on a pipe weld indicating who welded it.

Stick: SMAW welding process.

Stickout: Contact tip to work distance.

Stinger: A SMAW electrode holder.

Stringer Bead: A weld bead that is straight with no weave or whip.

Texas TIG: An arc welding technique which uses two electrodes, one held in the electrode holder, and one fed by hand, to fill a large gap.

Third Hand: A mechanical device that holds parts temporarily in place until they can be tack welded.

Tombstone: An old SMAW welding machine, typically a Lincoln AC225.

Undercut: Lack of fusion at the edge of a weld.

Unemployment Wagon: A mobile weld testing and inspection truck.

Uphill: Welding vertically from bottom to top.

Wagon Tracks: A type of weld defect found at the toe of a root pass which resemble the tracks left by a wagon.

Walking the Cup: A technique used to TIG weld pipe where the welder rotates the nozzle back and forth along the weld to form a weave.

Weed Burner: A large heating torch used for preheating pipe and other larger weldments.

Welding Papers: Certifications a welder has which qualify them for a particular job or task for a specific period of time.

Whip: A MIG gun. Also, a wrist motion made when MIG welding.

Zorro: A welder who is attempting to remove an electrode that has become stuck to the workpiece.

Now that you know the welding slang terms, you’re ready to speak the welder’s language. Just don’t use them all at once because it may look like you’re trying too hard!

To learn more about the welding industry, have a look at our other articles.

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