Welding Slang: Discover the Useful Professional Terms

Marcus Colson Last updated on September 4, 2023
Reading Time: 8 Minute

The world of welding is much more than just the fusion of metals. It comes with its own unique language – a range of terminologies that are known as welding slang.

Understanding welding slang is vital to being part of this professional community, whether you’re an experienced welder or someone just starting in the industry.

This welder’s jargon, or welding slang, offers a glimpse into the day-to-day life on the job, the skills required, and even some humor in the world of welding.

The ability to decode this slang will not only improve your communication within the welding community, but it can also provide insight into the techniques and intricacies that make welding an indispensable trade.

In this A-to-Z guide, we aim to break down some of the most common slang terms you might hear in a welder’s workshop or on a pipeline project.

So let’s jump right into the world of welding slang, starting with the letter ‘A’.

A-E Welding Slang

Navigating the welding world can be confusing with the sheer amount of welding slang used. Here are some common terms from A-E that you may come across in your welding journey.


  • Alligator Cut: This is a term used to describe a poor quality cut done with a torch that looks like it’s been chewed by an alligator.
  • Arc Burn: A welding slang term for photokeratitis, a painful eye condition caused by exposure to ultraviolet light during welding.
  • Arkansas Bell Hole: This refers to a pipe weld performed in the 6G position.


  • Back Purge: This is the process of filling the back side of a weld joint with a shielding gas (usually argon) to prevent contamination.
  • Backer: In welding slang, a backer is a plate or tool or strip of material placed behind the opening of a weld joint.
  • BBs: These are small balls of spatter usually generated when MIG welding.
  • Bell Hole: This is a large hole dug around a pipe which allows safe and easy access to the work area.
  • Bird Nest: Refers to a jumbled ball of welding wire usually caused by a feeding problem.
  • Bird Poop: A welding slang term for a poor quality weld that has the appearance of bird poop.
  • Blackballed: This term means being banned from working on a particular job or for a particular company.
  • Brother-in-Law Weld: Refers to a weld done by two welders at the same time, usually on large diameter pipe.
  • Bubble Gum: A term for a poor quality weld that looks like chewed bubble gum.
  • Bugger: In welding slang, a bugger is a welder’s helper, who is responsible for cleaning up and prepping weld in advance.
  • Bugholes: This term refers to porosity in a weld.
  • Busted Out: A term for failing a weld test.
  • Buzz Box: This is an arc welder which uses alternating current.


  • Cap: The term used for the last bead laid on a multi pass weld, typically in pipe fitting.
  • Cellulosic: This phrase pertains to SMAW electrodes which predominantly contain organic substances like paper. These electrodes are known for their significant penetration abilities.
  • Chicken Scratch: Refers to arc strikes outside the weld area.
  • Clamp it Jed: A welding slang phrase meaning to put a clamp there.
  • Cold Lap: A defect that occurs when there is a lack of penetration on one leg of the weld. Also known as a lack of fusion or incomplete fusion.
  • Coupon: A section of a welded joint which is cut out for destructive testing.
  • Cup: A welding slang term for a TIG welding nozzle.


  • Dig: Also known as arc force or arc control, dig is the capacity to modulate the intensity of the SMAW electrode to attain deeper or shallower penetration into the weld joint.
  • Dime Wide & Nickel High: This term refers to the width and height of the final pass on a pipeline weld utilizing the SMAW process.
  • Dingleberry: This refers to an unsightly ball of spatter hanging off a weld.
  • Dogleg: Two pieces of long run pipe welded together crooked.
  • Downhill: Executing a vertical weld, starting from the top and moving towards the bottom.
  • Drag Up: To leave a job suddenly and without providing any advance warning.
  • Drinking Hand: A welder who indulges excessively in alcohol. This term doesn’t inherently carry a negative implication.

Read Also : Structural Welding: Successful Pathways to Certification

F-J Welding Slang

In this next section of our welding slang dictionary, we’ll explore terms from F-J. Whether you’re a welding novice or a seasoned pro, understanding these phrases will give you a deeper grasp of this fascinating industry.


  • Fingernail: The form the SMAW electrode takes as its flux gradually burns away from the tip.
  • Fill: In multi-pass welding, particularly in pipe fitting, it’s the weld bead that is deposited following the root and preceding the cap.
  • Fish Eye: A term referring to a type of weld defect characterized by a round, fish-eye-like hole in the weld metal, typically caused by gas or contamination.
  • Fish Plate: A bolstering plate situated atop a butt weld, which serves to enhance strength and disperse stress points.
  • Fizzle: The sparks produced by welding or a carbon arc process.
  • Flash Burn: Photokeratitis.
  • Frying Bacon: The distinctive sound made by a perfectly set MIG weld.


  • GP: These refer to minute to substantial cavities in the weld metal. Smaller ones on the cap might be disregarded by the welder or concealed by judiciously applying mud on the weld.
  • Golden Arm: This is a term of endearment for a welder who is very skilled at their craft.
  • Grasshopper: In the world of welding slang, a grasshopper is a type of welder’s helper.
  • Green/Green horn/Rookie: These terms are used to refer to someone new to the welding industry.


  • Heliarc: A welding process also known as Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding, where the heat comes from an electric arc that is maintained between the tungsten electrode and the workpiece.
  • Highway Tight: The act of safely stowing all equipment on a mobile welding rig before leaving the worksite.
  • Hot Start: A feature found on certain SMAW power sources, designed to facilitate the arc initiation process with electrodes that are typically challenging to start. It operates by providing an extra current boost to assist in forming the arc.


  • IP: Inadequate penetration during the root pass is viewed as a flaw. This is typically identified when it exceeds 1 inch on primary welds or 2 inches on tie-ins.

K-Q Welding Slang

The next section of our welding slang dictionary takes us through the terms from K to Q. Let’s continue our journey and learn more about these distinctive and expressive welding slang terms.


  • Keyhole: This term is used to describe the hole that is created when a full penetration weld is performed. The hole is similar in appearance to an old-fashioned keyhole.


  • Making Popcorn: A welding slang term used to describe the sound made when the welding process isn’t going as planned, usually due to a contaminated weld or improper settings.
  • Meat Hand: Originating from the expression “bead hand,” this refers to a welder responsible for the root pass on a pipeline job. Typically, this is a skilled welder capable of smoothly executing root passes (stringer beads) in x-ray pipelines while in production mode.
  • Mortar Board/Mud Board: A wooden plank that a welder uses to position themselves above the mud while working on a pipeline.


  • Pancake: A kind of welding helmet with a flat, round front resembling a pancake.
  • Pipeliner: A kind of fixed shade welding mask often utilized in pipeline tasks.
  • Poor Fitup: This term is used to describe a situation where the pieces of metal being welded together do not align correctly, making the welding process more difficult.
  • Potato Face: Welder suffering from flash burn in the eyes.
  • Puddle: This term refers to the pool of molten metal that forms during the welding process.
  • Pup: A short piece of pipe used in pipeline construction.
  • Put me on Maxine & 100: This is a funny welding slang term used when a welder wants the maximum amperage on their welding machine.


  • Quiver: Bag for SMAW electrodes.

Read Also : Welding Terminology: How To Successful Understand Key Terms

R-T Welding Slang

We’ve explored welding slang from A to Q, and it’s time to continue our journey with the terms from R to T. Here is a look into more welding slang to help you better communicate in the welding world.


  • ROMF: Welder no longer required for the job.
  • Rose Bud: A common name for a heating nozzle.
  • Rig: Mobile welding truck
  • Root: This term refers to the first pass of a weld, especially in pipe welding. It’s crucial because it sets the foundation for subsequent welding passes.
  • Roustabout: An unskilled laborer or worker.
  • Run Off: To get fired from a welding job.


  • Shield Arcer: This is another term for a stick welder, derived from the process of Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW).
  • Shooting A Weld: Conducting an x-ray examination on a welded joint.
  • Shoulder to the Holder: A welder who relies more on strength than skill.
  • Skater in there: Seamless method to layer one welding pass over another.
  • Slag: Solidified flux that has settled on a finished weld bead.
  • Smile: A distortion in a pipe flange.
  • Soft: Arc with reduced drive (dig) and possible decreased penetration into the welding joint.
  • Spatter: These are small droplets of molten metal that fly off from the welding process, which can stick to the surrounding areas.
  • Spoon: A tool employed to support hole-filling with weld, commonly in body repairs.
  • Stacking Dimes: A TIG weld resembling a row of dimes slightly overlapped on one another.
  • Stencil: A signature mark on a pipe weld denoting the welder.
  • Stick: Welding method using SMAW process.
  • Stickout: Distance from the contact tip to the workpiece.
  • Stiff: An arc that delivers intense force into the weld joint, typically resulting in more spatter.
  • Stinger: A holder for the SMAW electrode.
  • Stringer Bead: A weld bead that runs straight, devoid of any weave or whip motion.


  • Texas TIG: A dual-electrode arc welding method where one electrode is hand-fed to fill a significant gap, while the other is held in the electrode holder.
  • Third Hand: A tool used to secure parts in position temporarily before tack welding them.
  • Tombstone: A vintage SMAW welding unit, often referred to as a Lincoln AC225.

Read Also : Welding Torch: Know It All in One Useful Article

U-Z Welding Slang

As we wrap up our list, let’s delve into the last segment of the welding slang dictionary from U to Z. Here you will find even more terms that might pop up in conversations among welders.

Let’s expand your welding vocabulary to the end!


  • Undercut: Lack of fusion at the edge of a weld.
  • Unemployment Wagon: A truck used for mobile weld inspection and testing.
  • Unloading: The manner in which an AWS 7018 classified SMAW electrode melts during welding. This leads to a significant release of the electrode across the arc, often causing increased spatter.
  • Uphill: Welding vertically from bottom to top.


  • Wagon Tracks: A welding defect located at the base of a root pass, mirroring the impressions left by wagon wheels.
  • Walking the Cup: This is a technique used in TIG welding where the torch is moved in a rocking motion, similar to how one might “walk” a large cup across a table.
  • Walking papers/Bounced/Snake Eyes: Getting fired or laid off.
  • Weed Burner: A robust heating torch deployed for pre-warming pipes and other substantial welding structures.
  • Welding Papers: Qualifications that a welder holds, certifying them for a specific job or role for a set duration.
  • Wetting-out: The capacity of a weld puddle to distribute uniformly, enabling the weld’s sides to integrate seamlessly with the foundational material.
  • Whip: A device used for MIG welding, also refers to a specific wrist movement made during MIG welding operations.
  • Wobble: A significant pause in productivity due to either the contractor’s neglect in ensuring regular payment for welders, or the act of swindling welders by underpaying them by 10 cents per hour.
  • Wowie: Any material or weld featuring at least one curve or bend that wasn’t originally intended.


  • Zorro: A welder striving to dislodge an electrode that has adhered itself to the workpiece.

And with that, we’ve finished our welding slang dictionary from A to Z. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a greenhorn, learning these terms can help you navigate the fascinating world of welding.

Remember, it’s not just about mastering the technical skills—understanding the language can also make a big difference.

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Marcus Colson
Marcus Colson

Welding is more than a hobby for me - it's a passion. The art of fusing metal together to create something new and functional never gets old. From intricate sculptures to sturdy structures, I love the endless possibilities that welding offers.

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