You Want To Order What?! Defining Medium Voltage Slang Terms

If you have ever been on a job site or tried to order parts, you have probably realized that contractors and electricians have some – let's say creative– names for things. Slang terms can mean different things to different people, and it is especially important to make sure you know what product you are talking about when you are ordering medium voltage products. If not, things can blow up – literally!

To help you differentiate between your potheads, joints and other imaginative terms, watch Misty Williams, 3M’s Midwest Regional Distribution Leader, explain the meanings of some common medium voltage slang terms, or check out the slang term dictionary below:

  • Joint—Official name for a splice
  • Butt—Another name for an inline splice
  • Branch—A branch splice is a Y or tap splice (a 3-way splice)
  • Wye—“Y” splice configuration or splice where tap meets a run at a diagonal
  • Premolded—Joint that is factory molded in the shape it will take when installed
  • Extruded—Joint in which cables are insulated with extruded dielectrics
  • Filled—Joint with outer shell that is filled with insulating compound (potted)
  • Cold Shrink—Joint made of tubes(s) that are applied by shrinking without heat
  • Transition—Joint of two cable types; e.g. EPR to PILC; 3/C to 3-1/C; etc.
  • Trifurcating—three branches; transition from 3/C to 3-1/C cables
  • Oil Stop—Sealing a PILC accessory to confine oil to the PILC cable
  • Aerial—Overhead cable and accessories; mounted or suspended in air (e.g. triplex)
  • Grounding Tab—Tab molded into semi-con jacket for ground wire attachment
  • Termination—Device for terminating AC-shielded power cables
  • Terminator—Another word meaning termination
  • Pothead—1/C or 3/C porcelain termination or any termination
  • Stress Cone—Method of stress control; also used to mean termination
  • High K—Method of stress control based on high-dielectric constant materials
  • Class 1—IEEE 48 termination class: 1-stress control, 2-insulator and 3-seal
  • Class 2—IEEE 48 termination class: 1-stress control, 2-insulator and 3-seal
  • Live Front—Connection that is not fully insulated and shielded
  • Stinger—Slang for “stem connector”
  • Skirted—Insulator with skirts to increase creepage and break up moisture path
  • Creepage—Distance between conductor and ground along insulator contour
  • Inverted—Installation where shielded cable is fed from above (upside-down)
  • Breakout—Crotch where three conductors exit a three-conductor cable jacket
  • Hippy—High-potential, low energy, cable field test; usually direct current
  • Load-Break—Designed to close and interrupt current on energized bushing
  • Load-Make—Installing a load-break elbow onto an energized bushing
  • Dead-Break—Separating an elbow from a de-energized circuit
  • Dead-Front—No exposed live parts; exposed parts insulated, shielded and grounded
  • 200 Amp—Designated 200-amp current which elbow can carry continuously
  • 600 Amp—Designated 600-amp current which elbow can carry continuously
  • Test Point—Capacitively coupled terminal for use with voltage-sensing devices
  • Two-Way—Elbows used as a splice for connecting two cables
  • Modular—600-amp elbow system which can be used in many configurations
  • Hammerhead—Slang for 600-amp “T” module
  • Probe—Arc-extinguishing rod connected to elbow compression connector
  • Cable Adapter—Premolded insert t adapt elbow to specific cable diameter
  • Connecting Plug—600-amp elbow accessory for connecting T modules together
  • Connecting Stud—Threaded stud used with 600-amp connecting plug and dead ends
  • Shotgun Stick—Insulated operating stick for installing elbows and components
  • Peckerhead—Another term for a motor lead boot assembly
misty williams 3m



For more information, please reach out to your sales representative or call 1-800-247-1410.