glove or jockey box?

What is the official name for the compartment in front of the passenger seat in a car where people store insurance and registration forms along with other odds and ends (gloves perhaps)?

I’ve always used glove compartment but have heard glove box. I recently heard someone call it a jockey box and that caught me off guard. I wondered if there was an official term for it.

From what I can tell, the official US term is glove compartment and in the UK it’s called the glove box.

According to MSN encarta, the term jockey box is used in the west, especially in the upper Rocky Mountain states, but is recorded as far south as Texas, but it’s also possible that jockey box is the Canadian term, based on this list of British, Canadian and United States vocabulary.

I think I’ll stick with glove box, because it’s the shortest.


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  1. I’m Canadian and I’ve never heard the term jockey box before reading this post…

    Comment by forbes on March 4, 2005 @ 6:34 pm
  2. I grew up in the midwest and used the term glove compartment, but since I moved to Utah I’ve heard the term jockey box used frequently.

    Comment by katie on March 4, 2005 @ 7:18 pm
  3. Forbes: What do you call it? Glove compartment?

    Comment by dan on March 4, 2005 @ 7:28 pm
  4. Dan – you write, “in the UK it’s called the .” It’s called the what?

    Comment by DavidH on March 4, 2005 @ 11:40 pm
  5. Oops. The period was the link, but I’ve fixed it.

    Comment by dan on March 5, 2005 @ 12:50 am
  6. definitely glove compartment

    Comment by forbes on March 5, 2005 @ 9:37 am
  7. well glove compartment or glove box…

    that’s what I always hear in East Coast Canada

    Comment by forbes on March 5, 2005 @ 9:38 am
  8. I grew up in Montana and we always called it a “Jockey Box” but for some reason I changed and now call it a “glove Box”. Other Montana words: Umver and Pop (soda).

    Comment by jason on March 5, 2005 @ 5:10 pm
  9. In Ohio, we call it a glovebox usually, but it seems cops and movies call it a glove compartment. also, in response to jason’s post, i think Pop is a pretty common word for carbonated beverages (particularly around here), soda seems new england-ish but i prefer it.

    Comment by Russ on March 7, 2005 @ 2:04 pm
  10. I grew up in Idaho and it’s definately a “jockey box” and always will be!!

    Comment by Rick on March 29, 2005 @ 7:12 am
  11. Having grown up in Montana like Jason it drives my wife, who grew up in Virginia, nuts when I call it a “jockey box” – just like the rest of my family who grew up here too.

    Comment by Dave on August 2, 2005 @ 3:18 pm
  12. I grew up in SE Washington State and we called it a ‘jockey box’. So, you must be correct in stating that it is a regional term. I lived in Australia and they thought the term was hilarious.

    Comment by Kerri on September 3, 2005 @ 11:45 am
  13. I grew up north of Red Bluff, California and it was always “jockey box”. Does anyone know the origin of the term??

    Comment by Bob on January 24, 2006 @ 7:26 pm
  14. I grew up in Central WA, state and I thought it was only my family who called it a Jockey box! I am excited to hear we are not the only crazy people out there that call it that! I love calling it a Jockey box and I don’t think I will ever change!

    Comment by Marcy on April 18, 2006 @ 4:08 pm
  15. I am from Lakeview, Oregon and have always called it a Jockey Box. I thought everyone knew what a Jockey Box was until I moved to California. In Lakeview we also used the term annual instead of yearbook.


    Comment by Opal on June 14, 2006 @ 4:20 pm
  16. My family has always called it a “jockey box” and I grew up in Idaho. Having lived in Seattle for many years and mingled withpeople from all over, I was frequently asked why I called it a “jockey box”. I had no idea! It seems that a small, locked box under the drier’s seat of a carriage or wagon was called a jockey box. It was used to store tools, persoanl stuff, and valuables. The Dictionary of American Regional English says that it is a term used mostly in the Northwestern U.S.

    Comment by Chris on December 22, 2006 @ 7:10 am
  17. That was the best description of Jockey box. Only heard it a couple of times and was wondering where it originated from. Glove box or glove compartment is the only usage I’ve ever heard or used until recently and I’m from the west coast.

    Comment by Lora Thomas on January 6, 2007 @ 4:36 pm
  18. In Oregon I’ve always hear it called a “Jockey Box” from what I
    gather it is a carry over of the locked box under the seat of a
    wagon that holds tools and the wagon drivers personal effects..

    Comment by Steve on January 11, 2007 @ 11:46 pm
  19. Portland, OR here. My father grew up in central Idaho, and he always called it a “Jockey Box”, so I do as well. I’ve learned to say “glove compartment”, though, at the blank stares I commonly receive.

    Comment by mel on January 15, 2007 @ 3:01 pm
  20. I grew up in Oregon and Utah and we always called it the Jockey Box!! I now live in Las Vegas and when I say that people think I am crazy! I told my kids they need to call it the Jockey Box to keep the tradition of alive of calling it this, they think I am crazy!

    Comment by Karen on May 16, 2008 @ 9:26 pm
  21. Karen: That’s funny. Got to keep the jockey box tradition alive!

    Comment by Dan on May 16, 2008 @ 11:03 pm
  22. Having grown up in southwest Nevada, north of Vegas a bout three hours, it was ALWAYS called the “jockey box.” Currently I live in central Utah, and my kids call it that, as well. Now they’re the ones getting the blank looks!

    Comment by Sue on August 25, 2008 @ 4:25 pm
  23. Hello All. Being direct descendants of Irish immigrants traveling by wagon train along the Oregon Trail I have always called the compartment in question a Jockey Box nad was told when I was quite young that it was the compartment that the driver of the wagon used for miscellaneous tools and spare parts to keep the wagon working properly.

    Comment by terry on October 20, 2008 @ 8:20 pm
  24. My parents, from eastern Washington State, both called it “jockey box.” I remember my first boyfriend in high school mocking me relentlessly, since to him “jockey box” sounded like a place you’d store your underwear. So I switched to calling it “glove compartment.”

    Google suggests a “jockey box” is a type of beer cooler. I can certainly imagine my young parents (and other folks from the wild West) keeping their beer in the “glove compartment.”

    Comment by jami on September 19, 2009 @ 12:19 pm
  25. Born and raised Montanan here and always have, still do, and always will call it a jockey box. Anything else sounds strange to me. As far as other Montana-isms… Ah ver (sometimes referred to as um-ver – said when somebody did something very bad and was sure to get in trouble for it), pop (soda),(as previously mentioned) and we say “Crick” (aka stream) dammit!

    Comment by Kathleen on November 12, 2009 @ 12:06 pm
  26. I also grew up in Lakeview, Oregon, in the 1940’s & ’50’s. We called the Jockey Box “the Jockey Box.” I was surprised when I moved east of the Rockies and heard “glove compartment.” How dull! In my 70’s now, I’m an old reprobate, and will continue to call it the Jockey Box; it’s fun to watch the puzzlement on young’uns’—and Easterners’—faces as they try to figure out what I’m talking about. Makes for a bit of gentle humor—sometimes a bit bawdy—in these trying times.

    Comment by Barbara on January 24, 2010 @ 5:54 pm
  27. In Missouri it’s a glove box, and a jockey box is a container under a truck seat, or a compartment separate from the cab like under the bed or the undercarriage of a bus or van.

    Comment by DSX on September 16, 2010 @ 3:15 pm
  28. In Northern Alberta, the compartment in front of the passenger is the glove box and the jockey box is in the front of the truck box made of heavy plastic or aluminium with a lock on it to hold your tools, chains, oil, spare gas or chain saw. It always has a lock on it so your stuff doesn’t grow legs in the night.

    Comment by Randy on January 12, 2011 @ 11:02 am
  29. if cape town south Africa we call it a cubby hole.

    lekker guys, meaning great

    Comment by AJ on November 17, 2014 @ 5:26 am
  30. I am a Native Idahoan, and as far as I can tell, we’ve always called it a “jockey box”. Don’t ask me why, because I couldn’t begin to tell you. Sometimes we call it a “glove compartment”, but it seems like “jockey box” is mostly an Idaho term.

    Comment by Tamisha on March 11, 2015 @ 3:07 pm

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