Origin of 10 4 Good Buddy

This phrase originates from the North American “CB” culture of the 1970s that was highly popularized by Hollywood films, commonly in road comedies like Cannonball Run and Smokey and the Bandit. CB (Citizen’s Band) radios were widely used in the heavy trucking industry, which created a niche user community thus developing a then unique camaraderie akin to today’s online gaming community.

What is 10 4 Good Buddy?

10–4 is an accepted radio communication response meaning ‘Message received and understood’. “Code 10-4 belongs to the early old CB radio. The code 10-4 was often made for greetings or to say thank you, and it was used much before in the early years. They are similar to Area Codes.

The code Ten-Four (10-4) is often used by police for clearing out their statements to other inspectors whom they are talking to. As a code, it denotes acknowledgment of a previous statement. Good buddy also refers to American team Conjuring in a similar way. The confluence of the two statements creates a deliberately ironic expression that is at once officious and informal.

Actually, ten four was a common expression which was used to thank someone or somebody. It has been around since 1937, created in Illinois for effective police communication, but nobody paid much attention to it until Highway Patrol introduced the baby boomer generation to it.

Ham radio operators used it, and truckers adopted it en masse in the 1970s to communicate with fellow drivers on Citizens Band (CB) channels. The CB excitement died down after a few years, but many, many people young and old enjoyed the craze. Slang expressions (alligator for tire tread carcass; bird dog for a radar detector, etc.) of the era are listed on online sites. At that time, Ten-Four was not so popular, but it became popular with party songs and movies.

How did 10 4 Good Buddy originated?

In the early times, the greeting used to be a huge time consuming, so the people had to find a short way to do so, so they created a code-named Ten-Four, which means thank you. It first reached the Police head departments and Head officers, then it was introduced to the local public/common people.

At that time, the Ten code was a so-called common word for people that were stuck in their tongues. 10-4 is an affirmative signal, it means “OK. Nowadays, Ten codes are officially used by Policemen and Officers to determine the correct situation from one another.

In the early 1930s and 1940s, this code was not so famous because none of the people were able to understand it at that time, because there were no such men or women to explain it so well. Then, after the time passed, its origination became more worthy and people started understanding it. Then it became a commonly used word.

The use of the code 10-4 got increased day by day as it became more understandable for the people. It was soon made a trucker slang, but the official police code ten four was still originated in such areas. People started using it in their greeting to people. In this Early time, there were very few amounts of police radio stations so it was not able to get is as considered relatively.

The code 10-4 was later considered as a trucker slang or a trucker language in C. W. McCall’s 1975 song “Convoy. CB Radio was relatively considered as this. These songs got ranked no. 1 in these types of categories as they became very famous.

Who Uses 10-4?

Ten-Four is mostly used by Police Officers to communicate with other officers in short words. It is also used by common people as a greeting because it means Thank you. Trucker and CB radio also uses this code to make their communication easy.
But nowadays, 10-4 has become a common slang word for American pop culture.

What are 10 codes?

Ten-codes, officially known as ten signals, are brevity codes used to represent common phrases in voice communication, particularly by law enforcement and in Citizens Band (CB) radio transmissions.
APCO first proposed Morse code brevity codes in the June 1935 issue of The APCO Bulletin, which was adapted from the procedure symbols of the U.S. Navy

In August 1935, APCO Bulletin published an article on the policies of the Ten Codes :

1. A standard message form for use by all police departments.

2. A simple code for service dispatches relating to corrections, repetitions, etc.

3. A standard arrangement of the context of messages. It was probably used for the cars and for other vehicles that are registered with a ten code.

4. A standard record system for logging the operation of the station.

5. A file of other important records which was made of registration of uniforms.

The development of the APCO Ten Signals began in June 1935 to reduce the use of speech on the radio at a time when police radio channels were limited. The senior inventor of ten codes “Charlie Charles Hooper” used to deserve its credit. He was involved in this kind of stuff and material for years and years. He loved to do such type of things. He was a professional programmer and was known as a genius.

There were many experienced radio operators who used and knew how to used these ten codes in different situations to inform somebody. The CB radio was among these professionals and experienced operators because they only knew how to use ten codes in what situation.

However, they sometimes forget these. Many companies which asked ten code experience were suffering from losses because there were only a few of the gentlemen who used to knew how to use these such codes. It was because they were newly introduced and pretty difficult to get understood. Then after a few years, people started approaching its preaching and it got very common.

Here are some codes and their definitions :

  • 10 20
    The phrase essentially means, “What is your location? and is used to identify your position on which you are standing currently. But this phrase is corrupted by the law.

  • 10 5
    10-2 Signal good. 10-3 Stop transmitting. 10-4 Acknowledgement (OK) 10-5 Relay. 10-6 Busy–stand by unless urgent.

  • 10 79
    Police code 10-79 is used to recognize Bomb threats.

  • 10 60
    Code 10 60 is used for security purposes eg: a suspicious car.

  • 10 42
    This particular code is used to indicate an officer’s end of the tour. If a law enforcement officer is killed during his duty, this code is used to inform his family about his death.

  • 10 41
    Police and other departments uses these 10 codes affirmatively. The word ten (10) indicates the next number or numbers is code.

  • 3
    Code 3 in America is used to inform a vehicle about his cautions, like if he has not turned his sirens and lights on, then he is informed.

  • 10 10
    Code 10-10 is used mostly when it is the situation of transactions which are being processed.

  • 99
    Police code 99 means Reckless operation.

  • 10 85
    Police code 10 85 means an arrival is being late at the time.

  • 187

  • 211

  • 415

  • 417
    A person with a weapon

  • 502
    Intoxicated Driver

  • 5150
    Mentally disturbed person (actually a reference to the California Welfare and Institutions Code)

CB slang

CB slang is the distinctive anti-language, argot, or cant which developed among users of Citizens Band radio (CB), most of them were the truck drivers in the early 90s.

CB and its distinctive language started in the United States but were then exported to other countries including Mexico, Germany, and Canada.

History of Codes


In 1945, Al Gross, the inventor of the walkie-talkie and owner of the Citizens Radio Corp., invented the CB radio. The radio was popular with small businesses and blue-collar workers like carpenters, plumbers, and electricians who used it to communicate with coworkers on the job. By the 1960s the cost of the radio was low enough that most average Joes could afford one, and the 23 channel radio was introduced.

By the late ’60s advancement in solid-state electronics allowed the size and cost to be greatly reduced, making it easy for CB clubs to form and hobbyists developed their own, unique CB slang. Along with this slang, CB radio clubs adopted the “10” codes similar to codes used by emergency services, 10-4, 10-1, 10-9, etc.

Years before, a license was required to use a CB radio which cost $20.00 per year. In the early ’70s, the price of a license dropped to $4.00 per year. Eventually, the FCC received over 1 million applications for licenses and they dropped the license requirement but, by that time, the whole CB culture was born. People had ignored the rules of CB radio, regulations, distance restrictions, allowable transmitter power, etc. and to avoid getting into serious trouble, they hid their identities behind fake names which soon became the norm and were called “handles”.

10-8 IN THE 70S

By 1973 the oil crisis was in full flood causing gas prices to rise, shortages to become a daily grind and the US government issued the nationwide 55 MPH speed limit. The CB radio was coming into its own being used by truckers to communicate to other drivers which stations had gas and notify others of where the police were setting up speed traps. The radio was also used to organized protests in the form of convoys and blockades, where truckers would fill all available highway lanes in protest of gas prices and new trucking regulations.

Then in 1975 advertising exec, Bill Fries provided the words for jingle writer Chip Davis and the two of them created the CB radio inspired song “Convoy”, taking the lives of truckers and the slang of CB radio out of the cabs and into the pop culture.

The main character of the song, who is credited as the writer and singer, C.W. McCall, is actually a character created and voiced by Fries. The character was originally dreamed up for a series of bread commercials. Fries felt that the commercials should have a country-western feel and so C.W., (Country Western) and glancing down at a copy of McCall’s magazine, McCall, was born.

The commercials went on to win the top Clio Award for the best television campaign in the US, beating out Xerox and Ford. C.W. McCall’s recording career was born soon after with 1974’s “Old Home Filler-Up an’ Keep on-a-Truckin’ Cafe” The fictional character’s biggest hit, “Convoy” came in 1975.


Not only did this catchy song become a novelty radio hit, but it was also seen as a protest song by truckers, an anthem against the regulations and rules that were costing truckers a lot of money during the ’70s. The song also spawned a movie by the same name starring Chris Kristofferson and Ali McGraw and directed by the great Sam Peckinpah. The movies Movin’ On and the Burt Reynolds’/Sally Field hit Smokey and the Bandit were also inspired by the song and the slang of the trucker.

The CB slang and trucker life remained in pop culture for quite a while inspiring movies; White Line Fever (1975), Breaker! Breaker! (1977), High Ballin’ (1978), Flatbed Annie and Sweetiepie; Lady Truckers (1979), Over The Top (1987), and Black Dog (1998) to name just a few.


Apart from the 10 code, truckers have a unique language for people and things they encounter on the road, some of which are on display in the song Convoy. Some of the most recognizable slang still exists in our pop culture. Everyone is familiar with what a bear is, a police officer, but here are some more popular trucker slang that you may be familiar with.

Ankle Biter- a small child

Backslide - A return trip

Bear bait - Speeding car

Big Slab - Interstate

City Kitty- City Police

Cash Register- Toll Booth

Bird Dog- Radar Detector

Crotch Rocket- Motorcycle

Dispatcher brains- Hauling a very light or empty trailer

Granny Lane- Slow Lane

Ground Pressure- the weight of a truck

Hammer Down- Move faster

Hand- Driver

Home 20- Your home

Salt Shaker - Snow Plow

Wally World- Walmart

Ten Codes

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What does the phrase 10 4 Good Buddy mean?
The phrase or code 10-4 means Thank You, it can be used when greeting someone but it is officially used by police officers.

Where did the term 10 4 originate?
The code 10-4 was officially originated to have a short way to clear something like a police officer wants to clear something to another officer, so he will use this code.

What is the origin of what’s your 20?
What’s you 20 is originated for the short word of, where are you?

What does good buddy slang mean?
In the 1970s, this was the stereotypical term for a friend or acquaintance on the CB airwaves. Now the term “buddy” can be used similarly to the term “good buddy” especially driver. Good numbers. Well wishes to a fellow driver.

What does a 10 20 mean?
The phrase essentially means, “What is your location? or it is used to identify your current position.

What does a 10 5 mean?
10-2 Signal good. 10-3 Stop transmitting. 10-4 Acknowledgement (OK) 10-5 Relay. 10-6 Busy–stand by unless urgent.

What does a 10 8 mean?
10-8 In-service/available for assignment. 10-9 Repeat last transmission. 10-10 Off duty. 10-10A Off duty at home. 10-11 Identify this frequency.

What does a 10 2 mean?
Radio code for ‘Receiving well’

What is a 10 41 police code?
The police code 10 41 is used to suspect a crime.

What does watch your six mean?
8. “Got your six” Meaning: Watching your back. Military members commonly describe direction using the hours of a clock. Whichever direction the vehicle, unit, or individual is moving is the 12 o’clock position, so the six o’clock position is to the rear.


If I sum this Article up in some lines, 10-4 is an affirmative signal: it means “OK.” The ten-codes are credited to Illinois State Police Communications Director Charles Hopper who invented them in the early 90s to make communication faster between policemen.

This phrase originates from the North American “CB” culture of the 1970s that was highly popularized by Hollywood films, commonly in road comedies like Cannonball Run and Smokey and the Bandit.

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