Dig Deep: Essential Metal Detecting Terms You Should Know

Delve into the fascinating world of metal detecting with our comprehensive guide to the terminology and slang used by enthusiasts and experts alike. Whether you’re a seasoned detectorist or just beginning your treasure-hunting journey, our material provides a clear and concise breakdown of key terms, slang, and technical jargon associated with metal detectors. From deciphering signals to understanding user modes and identifying artifacts, this resource is your go-to companion for navigating the language of the metal detecting community.


  • Air Test: A trial where a metal detector is held in the air, passing a target over its search head. This helps estimate the detector’s depth capabilities, but keep in mind that it might not accurately represent how well it detects objects in the ground.
  • Alkaline Battery: A type of non-rechargeable battery often recommended by detector manufacturers. Alkaline batteries provide longer-lasting power and greater storage life compared to standard carbon-zinc batteries.
  • All Metal: A user mode on a metal detector that responds to all types of metals, generating signals for any metallic objects. Be prepared for digging up various items, including potential junk targets.
  • Archie, Arkie: Slang for an archaeologist, someone who studies and excavates historical artifacts.
  • Artefacts: Man-made objects discovered during metal detecting, such as buckles, buttons, and bullets. However, the term usually excludes coins.
  • Audio Gain, Gain: A setting on many metal detectors that controls the volume level, particularly for deeper targets. Adjusting this setting can help enhance faint signals.
  • Audio ID: The capability of a metal detector to produce different tones for different types of metals, aiding the user in identifying the nature of the detected object.
  • Auto Tune: A feature in metal detectors that automatically adjusts the operating channel to minimize the impact of environmental noise. This technology continuously maintains the detector’s threshold at the initially tuned audio level.


  • Back Reading: In discriminate mode, this happens when your metal detector falsely signals that it’s found something. It occurs when a rejected target gets too close to or touches the bottom of the search coil.
  • Barber: The Barber dime, named after its designer Charles E. Barber, who served as Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint. This design was also used for the quarter and half dollar during the late 1800s to early 1900s.
  • BBS (Broad Band Spectrum): A technology that transmits, receives, and analyzes multiple frequencies simultaneously. It provides significant detection depth, high sensitivity, and accurate discrimination for various target types.
  • Bench Test: An air test conducted in a non-metallic area to figure out the approximate discriminate settings for accepting or rejecting different metal samples.
  • BFO (Beat Frequency Oscillation): An older metal detector using the induction balance principle. Often found in inexpensive detectors and less common in modern coinshooting. It’s associated with “old school” detectorists who prefer these machines.
  • Black Dirt: Organic-rich soil commonly found in very old sites, especially in the Eastern US. These areas are often fruitful for metal detecting.
  • Black Sand: Minerals with magnetic iron oxide, causing negative ground conditions. VLF coils struggle in such conditions, leading to poor metal detector penetration. PI detectors work better but may produce false signals if the coil is too close to the ground.
  • Bling: Fancy jewelry, which may or may not be made of precious metal. Detectorists might proudly showcase their “bling” finds.
  • Body Mount, Hip Mount: Attaching the metal detector unit to the belt instead of the stem.
  • Bottlecap Magnet, Pulltab Magnet: A device that mistakenly identifies bottle caps as valuable signals, sometimes confusing them with coins.
  • Bucketlister: An extraordinary find, considered very special and possibly a once-in-a-lifetime discovery.
  • Bust Coin, Draped Bust: An ancient U.S. coin minted from the late 1700s to the early 1800s. These coins are rare finds for metal detectorists.


  • Cache: A hidden stash of valuables intentionally buried or concealed, often in containers like jars, boxes, or cans. It can include a collection of money or other valuable metal items.
  • Camp Lead: Melted lead often found around campfire sites, particularly indicative of the US Civil War era.
  • Canslaw: Shredded remnants of aluminum cans, usually left behind after being mowed over. These fragments produce diverse signals due to their varying sizes, creating a challenging environment for metal detecting.
  • Carbon-Zinc: The most common type of standard dry cell battery.
  • Chatter: The undesirable sound a metal detector produces when poorly tuned or when operated with high sensitivity for maximum depth, resembling static. Advanced detectorists may deliberately tolerate some “chatter” to uncover deeper targets.
  • Choppy: The sound a metal detector makes when it detects an object that’s almost discriminated out. It’s often used to describe a signal that is questionable.
  • Clad: Coins that are still in circulation.
  • Clad Magnet: A term jokingly used after challenging hunts where only modern coins are found, suggesting the hunter is a “clad magnet.”
  • Coil (Search Coil): The detector’s component that senses the target. It’s a plastic housing, usually circular, containing transmit and receive windings in a specific arrangement. The search coil emits and receives signals from the ground and metal targets.
  • Coin Depth Indicator: A visual feature, often with calibrated circuitry, indicating the depth of buried coins in inches or millimeters.
  • Coin Shooting: Searching for coins regardless of their location or historical era.
  • Coinshooters: Enthusiasts who primarily search for coins using metal detectors.
  • Coinball: A clump of soil containing a hidden coin, creating a moment of anticipation before revealing the coin’s type and age. Sometimes, the coin’s edge is visible.
  • Composite Digger: A durable plastic trowel designed to prevent damage to coins during recovery.
  • Concentric Coil, Mono Coil: A search coil configuration with one or more transmit and one receive winding, aligned with unequal diameters on a common center. The search pattern is cone-shaped, aiding in accurate target pinpointing. Concentric coils require more sweep overlap for thorough ground coverage and can be noisier in highly mineralized ground, making them less ideal for gold hunting.
  • Conductivity: Refers to how well a target allows electrical current to flow through it. A highly conductive target has low electrical resistance, allowing current to flow more easily.
  • Continuous Wave: A type of metal detecting technology where electromagnetic fields are applied to the ground in a continuous sine wave.
  • Control Box, Control Housing: A metal or plastic box housing various controls, displays, speakers, batteries, and electronics.
  • Copper: Referring to a US large cent or colonial equivalent.
  • Crusty: Used to describe a target that is in poor condition.


  • Depth Penetration: The utmost measure of a metal detector’s capability to send an electromagnetic field into the soil matrix, generating a signal from a target.
  • Detectorist: An individual who regularly uses metal detectors, either professionally or as a hobby.
  • Digger: The tool employed to excavate targets. Also, a term used to describe a person who engages in metal detecting.
  • Dighole: An indentation left by previous metal detectors who have hunted an area before.
  • Dirt Fishing: Metal detecting conducted in soil, as opposed to beach, sand, or underwater locations.
  • Discrimination (DISC): The detector’s ability to disregard responses from specific target ranges, allowing only higher conductivity targets to produce signals. A high discrimination setting filters out unwanted items but may sacrifice depth. Discrimination is not flawless and may unintentionally filter out valuable targets.
  • Double Blip: A signal characteristic often observed with elongated ferrous targets like nails or surface-level coins when detected in the All Metal no-motion mode.
  • Draped Bust, Draped Coin: A design used in American coinage from 1795 to 1808, known for its high desirability and rarity.
  • Drift: A loss of threshold tuning stability caused by factors like temperature changes, battery conditions, ground mineral content, or detector design.
  • Drop: A bullet dropped, often associated with the US Civil War.
  • DVT (Dual Voltage Technology): Minelab’s advanced Pulse Induction technology utilizing pulses with two voltage levels to enhance MPS (Multi-Period Sensing).


  • Eddy Currents: Minute electrical currents induced into targets when a metal detector’s electromagnetic field is active. These currents create an electromagnetic field around the target, detectable by the metal detector.
  • Electromagnetic Field: A magnetic field generated electrically. Metal detectors emit an electromagnetic field from the search coil, influencing buried targets and subsequently altering the signal received by the detector.
  • Elliptical Coil: A search coil with an elliptical shape. This coil may be either concentric or widescan in type.
  • EMI (Electromagnetic Interference): External interference caused by electromagnetic signals from sources like power lines or electronic devices, which can disrupt the normal operation of a metal detector.


  • Faint Signal: A subtle sound indicating targets that are potentially deeply buried or very small in size.
  • False Signal: An incorrect signal caused by factors like overshooting, ground voids, or highly mineralized hot rocks. This can result from issues such as junk, loose leads on the coil, stubble, or hard soil.
  • Fattie: A thick Indian Head penny or Flying Eagle cent minted between 1859 and 1864. Notably thicker than newer Indian Head pennies.
  • FBS (Full Band Spectrum): Technology that simultaneously transmits, receives, and analyzes a full band of multiple frequencies. This provides the detector’s electronics with more information about a target and its surroundings compared to single frequency or BBS technology.
  • Ferrous: Any iron-bearing target. Ferrous objects, like horseshoes, nails, and tin cans, contain iron and are attracted to a magnet. While many are junk targets, some can be valuable relics.
  • Fill, Fill Dirt: Soil brought in artificially to increase the depth of old objects/coins. Not favorable for coin hunting.
  • Flag and Bag: Discovering and placing objects in archaeological bags, accompanied by leaving a small flag at the find site. Typically part of an archaeological survey.
  • Freestyling, Door-Knocking: Driving or walking from property to property, seeking permission to metal detect without a specific plan.
  • Frequency: The number of complete alternating current cycles produced by the transmit oscillator per second. Measured in cycles per second. VLF (Very Low Frequency) = 3 to 30 kHz; LF (Low Frequency) = 30 to 300 kHz; MF (Medium Frequency) = 300 to 3000 kHz; HF (High Frequency) = 3 to 30 MHz.
  • Frequency Shift: A feature suppressing audio interference (cross-talk) between two detectors using identical transmit frequencies in close proximity.
  • Friends: Additional valuable targets found in a single excavation hole.


  • Gold Prospecting: The pursuit of discovering new gold deposits. Metal detectors designed for gold prospecting boast advanced ground balancing capabilities, enabling operation in highly mineralized ground and the detection of targets at greater depths.
  • Grand Slam: Achieving the rare feat of finding four coins of the same type but from different eras during a single hunt. For example, discovering Seated, Barber, Mercury, and Roosevelt dimes in one outing. A very uncommon occurrence.
  • Gridding, Gridded: Metal detecting using a specific walking pattern, commonly “straight” or “circular.” It may also involve a preliminary check of a location before thorough detecting.
  • Ground Balance, GB: Adjusting the detector to the mineralization in the soil at the current hunting location. This adjustment can be done manually or automatically, depending on the metal detector model.
  • Ground Mineralization: Refers to the magnetic properties of the ground. Two main types are iron-based mineralization, identifiable by its red coloration due to iron particles, and salt-based mineralization, found in areas like saltwater beaches. Metal detectors perceive mineralized ground as a large target, making it challenging to detect buried targets.
  • Ground Noise: False signaling caused by a metal detector that is not properly ground balanced to the soil. Ground noise occurs when an unbalanced detector’s search coil sweeps across varying mineralization, soil types, rocks, or irregularities.
  • Ground Tracking: The detector’s ability to continuously measure the ground’s mineralization and automatically adjust the ground balance setting for optimal performance. This feature ensures accurate ground balance and maximum detection depth, eliminating the need for manual adjustments as ground conditions change.
  • Growl, Grunt: The sound produced by many detectors when detecting iron signals.


  • Halo Effect, Halo: Over time, certain metals buried in the soil oxidize, creating a metallic halo around the object. This leaching process leads to heightened mineralization, causing a detector to signal a larger target area than reality.
  • Hand Held: A metal detector configuration where the operator holds a shaft or handle supporting the search coil and control housing. Also known as pole mount.
  • Harmonic Frequencies: Components of a signal or wave that are multiples of the fundamental frequency. For instance, a 15 kHz signal will have harmonic frequencies at 30 kHz, 45 kHz, 60 kHz, 75 kHz, and so on.
  • Heartbreaker: A high-quality coin or artifact found with some form of damage, like a digger scratch or plow damage.
  • Heartstopper: An impressive object initially viewed in the hole, often turning out to be less valuable or even junk upon closer inspection (e.g., an amusement park token or a gold-colored ring of little value).
  • HH (Happy Hunting): Frequently used in emails and forum posts as a sign-off, expressing good wishes for successful hunting. For example, “GL/HH.”
  • High Tone: A distinct squeal produced by many multi-tone detectors when detecting high conductivity targets (e.g., silver). Typically considered desirable.
  • Hockey Puck: A very small metal detecting coil, often employed in areas with a high concentration of junk.
  • Honey Hole: A location consistently yielding valuable finds across multiple hunts, often kept secret.
  • Hot Rock: A rock with a higher concentration of nonconductive minerals, causing difficulties in detection. In motion and non-motion modes, a metallic (positive) response is heard, while the all-metal, ground balance mode registers a null or negative drop in threshold over these rocks.
  • Hunted Out, Hunted to Death: Refers to a metal detecting site that has been thoroughly explored and detected over an extended period, potentially yielding fewer valuable targets.


  • Iffy: A signal that is challenging to interpret but suggests a potential good target.
  • Indian: Refers to a US Indian Head Cent, minted between 1859 and 1909.
  • Isolator: A non-metal stem connecting the search coil to the control shaft, eliminating metallic interference in the detection pattern. In some detectors, the entire lower shaft is constructed from a non-metal material.


  • Junk/Trash: Refers to undesirable ferrous or non-ferrous metal targets. Examples of ferrous junk include nails, paperclips, and wire, while non-ferrous junk includes items like bottle tops, ring pulls, and foil.


  • Key/Semi-Key/Key Date: A coin with low mintage numbers that holds higher value among collectors.
  • kHz or Kilohertz: Measurement unit for frequency, representing 1000 cycles per second.


  • LCD (Liquid Crystal Display): A graphic visual indicator on a metal detector, similar to a meter/needle indicator.
  • Low Tone: An audible signal that usually indicates low conductivity targets such as gold or pull-tabs.


  • Magnet Fishing: A side-hobby often enjoyed by metal detectorists, involving the use of a powerful magnet on a line to pull ferrous objects from the bottom of creeks or lakes.
  • Masked, Masking: When a piece of iron is close to a desirable target, causing the metal detector to respond differently. It can also refer to a mode on a metal detector that temporarily removes or reduces discrimination.
  • Matrix: The overall volume of ground penetrated by a metal detector’s transmitted electromagnetic field. This volume may contain various minerals, metals, salts, and moisture.
  • MDing: Abbreviation for Metal Detecting.
  • Memorials: A US one-cent coin featuring the Lincoln Memorial on the back, used from 1959 to the present.
  • Merc: Slang for the US Mercury Dime, minted from 1916 to 1945 and composed of 90% silver.
  • Metal: Refers to metallic substances like iron, foil, nickel, aluminum, gold, brass, lead, copper, silver, and others.
  • Metal Detectorist: A person using a metal detector in the field. Many prefer this term over “Treasure Hunter.”
  • Meter: A component on a metal detector that provides visual information for target identification. Meters can have LCD or needle indicators displaying signal intensity, target depth, metal type, or battery condition.
  • Mineral-Free Discriminator: Any metal detector capable of rejecting or ignoring unwanted metals while simultaneously adjusting for ground mineralization.
  • Mineralized Ground: Soil containing conductive or nonconductive components.
  • Mode: The chosen condition of operation selected by the metal detector operator to achieve a specific function.
  • Morgan: The Morgan Silver Dollar, produced from 1878 to 1921 and composed of 90% silver.
  • Motion: A mode of operation for most metal detectors, requiring movement of the search head to trigger a response from the target.
  • MPS (Multi Period Sensing): Minelab’s advanced Pulse Induction (PI) technology transmitting pulses of different time periods. MPS samples the receive signal at multiple time periods, separating target signals from ground signals even in highly mineralized areas. This technology excels in achieving superior depth in extremely mineralized ground, being sensitive to both small and deep gold.


  • Metal Detecting Glossary for Beginners:
  • Narrow Response: When a target produces a brief audio signal, making pinpointing almost unnecessary.
  • Negative Ground: Soil containing non-conductive minerals that negatively affect the air-tuned threshold due to elements like small particles of iron or ferrous minerals.
  • Neutral Ground: Soil with neither conductive nor non-conductive mineral properties, lacking mineralization.
  • Neutral Response: Indicates no change in the detector’s threshold tone, suggesting a consistent environment.
  • Newbie: Someone new to the metal detecting hobby, just starting out.
  • Ni-Cad (Nickel-Cadmium): A rechargeable battery cell type commonly used in metal detectors.
  • Nicked: Damaging a coin or object while digging, often unintentionally hitting it with a digging tool.
  • Nighthawk: Slang for someone who illegally metal detects at night.
  • No-Motion (Non-Motion): A detection mode where the search head doesn’t need movement to trigger a target response.
  • Noise Cancel: A feature that adjusts a metal detector’s operating frequency to minimize the impact of environmental electromagnetic noise, like power lines and cell phone towers.
  • Non-Ferrous: Materials without iron content, including precious metals like gold, silver, and copper.
  • Notch Discrimination: Filtering circuitry allowing users to reject specific target ranges while accepting others. It can be fine-tuned to reject all metals except within a specific conductivity range.
  • Notch Level: A control selecting the target level or conductivity for the notch filter.
  • Notch Reject: Operation where targets within the chosen notch width and level are ignored.
  • Notch Width: The discrimination range of target conductivities at the chosen notch level, creating a filtering “window.”


  • On-edge: Refers to a coin buried in the ground with one side facing up and down, instead of lying flat parallel to the surface. This orientation can pose a challenge when trying to detect the coin accurately.
  • One-way signal: A detecting signal that responds only when you sweep the metal detector in one direction, not the other. This type of signal is often an indication of a potential junk target, but not always.
  • Overlap: The distance the metal detector’s searchcoil moves forward in each sweep, not exceeding the coil’s physical diameter. Maintaining proper overlap ensures thorough coverage during metal detecting.
  • Overload: Occurs when there is an excessive amount of metal beneath the searchcoil, rendering the metal detector less effective. This situation makes it challenging for the machine to function properly.
  • Overshoot: A common false signal that occurs when using a no-motion All Metal mode along with automatic returning. It happens as the searchcoil passes over a rejected target, creating a misleading signal. This phenomenon can be encountered during metal detecting sessions.


  • Peep, Squeas, Squeaker: High-pitched sounds heard at significant depths during metal detecting.
  • Permissions: Designates the areas where you are allowed to metal detect.
  • Phase Response: The time it takes for eddy currents to generate on a metal’s surface, creating a secondary electromagnetic field effect on the search coil’s receive winding. This is related to the target’s conductivity.
  • PI (Pulse Induction), Pulse Machine: A detection mode where the transmitter circuit sends a pulse of electrical current into the ground before quickly shutting down. Eddy currents dissipate rapidly in poor conductors like wet salt sand, while metals retain these currents. The receiver circuit then picks up the signal from the metal.
  • Pinpoint (Electronic Pinpointing): A mode enabling the hunter to precisely locate a target.
  • Pinpointer, Pin: A small, handheld metal detector used inside an open hole/plug to pinpoint the target’s location.
  • Pinpointing: The act of finding the exact target location concerning a search coil’s designated center.
  • Plowline: The relatively undisturbed area in agricultural fields that plows can’t reach.
  • Plug: A carefully dug hole that minimizes harm to the surrounding dirt and grass, showcasing the skill and ethical approach of the metal detectorist.
  • Pocketspill, Coinspill: A collection of coins lost from a pocket or purse, often discovered in areas where people sat on the grass.
  • Positive Ground, Positive Mineralisation: Soil containing conductive minerals or moist salts that have a positive or upward effect on an air-tuned threshold.
  • Probe, Poker: A small tool, typically made of brass, used to locate coins before digging by touch.
  • Prospecting: The activity of searching for valuable metals such as gold, silver, or coins.


  • Quick Response: A “Quick Response” refers to the brief time it takes for a metal detector to sense a metal object and show the peak audio or visual signal. This term is commonly used when discussing detectors that operate across all frequency ranges, such as TR detectors. In simpler terms, when you swing your metal detector over a target, the quick response feature ensures that you get a fast and noticeable signal, making it easier for you to identify and locate the metal object. This is particularly useful for efficiently finding items in various conditions.


  • Reeded Edge, Silver Edge: The grooved edge commonly found on many silver coins, opposite to a smooth edge. Recognizing a reeded edge often helps identify the type of coin discovered in the ground.
  • Rejection: An indication that the metal detector does not recognize or accept a target. This is typically observed as a null in the threshold or a broken sound when operating in a discriminate mode.
  • Relic Hunting: The pursuit of targets with historical significance. Relic hunting involves searching for items that hold historical value, such as artifacts from the past.
  • Repeatable: Refers to a metal detecting signal that can be consistently detected in various directions during coil sweeps. Having repeatable signals increases the likelihood of uncovering a valuable target.
  • Return: The process of reuniting lost jewelry with its owner. Metal detectorists often engage in the noble practice of returning lost items to their rightful owners.
  • Rosie: A colloquial term for a Roosevelt dime made of 90% silver, minted between 1946 and 1964.
  • Round Ball: A musket ball originating from a muzzle-loading gun, often found during metal detecting activities.
  • Roundness: Describes the shape of a coin or button that is still in the ground. A coin or button exhibiting roundness suggests its intact form.
  • Rubar: An informal term indicating an item that is “rusted beyond all recognition.” This term is often used to describe objects that have corroded extensively, making their original appearance unrecognizable.


  • Salt Elimination: The detector’s feature to reduce interference from salt minerals, which can affect how deep the detector can find targets and identify them.
  • Screamer: A strong and loud signal in the headphones, usually indicating a high-value find like a large silver coin or artifact.
  • Scrubbing: Pressing and holding the search coil against the ground to maintain a consistent audio threshold, especially useful with newer detectors for increased depth.
  • Scuff Cover, Coil Cover, Skid Plate: A protective cover for the bottom of the search coil, recommended for preventing damage. Cheaper to replace than the entire coil.
  • Search Coil, Head, Loop, Coil: Circular or differently shaped housing containing wire coils that emit and receive signals from the ground and metal targets.
  • Search Coil Cable: Shielded cable conveying signals between the control housing and the search coil.
  • Seated: A term for a US coin minted between 1837 and 1891 in denominations of half dime, dime, quarter, and half.
  • Seeded Hunt: A metal detecting session where items have been deliberately scattered or planted for participants to find.
  • Sensitivity: The ability of a metal detector to detect changes in conductivity, influencing its depth in sensing targets.
  • Shaft: The adjustable stem connecting the control box and the search coil.
  • Signal, Target Response: The audio or visual indication alerting the operator to a detected target.
  • Silent Search, Silent Operation: Detectors capable of producing a target signal below the threshold audio level.
  • Skunked: Unsuccessful hunting trip with no valuable finds.
  • Slow Motion: The controlled speed at which the search coil is moved, especially in motion discriminate mode.
  • Smartfind: Minelab’s discrimination scale showing a target’s ferrous and conductive properties.
  • Smoothie: A highly worn coin with difficult-to-see details.
  • Square Nail: An old, often hand-forged nail indicating old construction.
  • Stability: The detector’s ability to maintain manually adjusted tuning threshold despite outside interference.
  • Stingy Site: A location where very few valuable items are found.
  • Strip Hunting: Metal detecting on the street side of sidewalks.
  • Surface Area: The part of a target closest to the search coil where eddy currents can occur.
  • Surface Elimination: The detector’s ability to ignore targets on or near the surface, useful in areas with a lot of trash.
  • Sweep, Sweeping, Swinging: The motion used to move the search coil across the ground, often done side to side as the detectorist moves forward.


  • Target: Any metal object that causes a response, either audio or visual, in a metal detector. Targets can vary from valuable items like coins to less desirable objects like bottle tops.
  • Target ID: The detector’s ability to recognize a target based on its conductivity and display a probable identification using bars, numbers, or icons through a meter.
  • Target Masking: When the presence of large or concentrated amounts of trash metals suppresses weaker signals from deeper or smaller targets, pushing the threshold into a null zone.
  • Tear-outs: The removal of sidewalks or parking lots for repair or construction, presenting an opportune time for metal detecting.
  • Ten-Turn: A control that can be manually rotated ten times to cover the full electrical range of a function, often associated with tuning or ground balance.
  • Test Garden, Coin Garden, Test Plot, Test Bed: A mapped area with buried targets at various depths, aiding in learning target responses and comparing metal detector performance under specific ground conditions.
  • TH’er, TH’ing, Metal Detectorist: Universal contractions for treasure hunter and treasure hunting.
  • Three Ringer: A three-groove Minié ball bullet, typically from the Civil War era.
  • Threshold: A continuous tone setting that serves as a reference point for tuning the detector to ground balance and establishes the minimum sound level for deep targets in discriminate mode.
  • Toasty, Toasted: A coin heavily corroded due to extended periods in the ground.
  • Tone ID: Different sounds indicating various targets on modern detectors. High tones often signify high-conductivity targets like silver or copper, while low tones suggest low-conductivity targets like gold.
  • Tones Machine: A metal detector where identifying sounds is crucial, as opposed to relying on a display to classify found items before digging.
  • Tot-lot: Areas in parks designated for very young children, often holding newer lost jewelry just below the surface.
  • Tot-lot-tour: Moving from park to park to quickly detect children’s areas for valuables, particularly popular on Monday mornings.
  • TR or Transmitter-Receiver: Describes the operation method of early detectors; some manufacturers still produce this type of detector.
  • Trash Pit: An area where everyday trash was disposed of in the past, often referring to the regimental trash area of a Civil War site.
  • Trashy Ground: Ground with high levels of junk, making metal detecting more challenging.
  • Trifecta: Finding three coins of the same denomination but from different eras or types in a single hunt, e.g., discovering a Barber, Mercury, and Roosevelt dime together.
  • Two-tone-ferrous, TTF: A mode on the Minelab E-Trac detector used in the presence of heavy iron content, where iron targets produce low tones and good targets produce high tones.


  • Vehicle: Don’t get puzzled if a fellow detectorist mentions their “vehicle”; it’s simply their way of saying “car.” Often, this term comes up when someone wishes they had a cool 4×4 truck for their adventures.
  • Very Low Frequency (VLF): This technology forms the basis for many modern detectors. Imagine a VLF detector as having two coils – one sends out a magnetic field, and the other reads the altered field caused by a metal object. This alteration is what triggers the detector to signal a find.
  • VFLEX: Exclusive to Minelab’s X-TERRA detectors, VFLEX is a tech marvel. It uses advanced digital electronics to boost standard single-frequency detection. The perk? Improved performance and better resistance to external interference. Also, changing the detector’s coil automatically adjusts its operating frequency, offering versatility for different detecting conditions.
  • Virgin Site: No, it’s not about dating; it’s a location that hasn’t been metal detected before. These sites often yield exciting discoveries.
  • Visual ID: Ever seen a number or symbol on a metal detector screen? That’s Visual ID at play – a handy feature that visually indicates the type of metal detected, aiding identification.
  • VLF/DISC: This term is associated with detectors capable of operating without interference from minerals. They shine in both Discriminate and All Metal modes.
  • VLF/TR: This detector class does double duty, smoothly transitioning between All Metal, Ground Balance mode, and No-Motion Discriminate, Non-Ground Balance mode.
  • Voltage: In simple terms, voltage is electrical potential, measured in volts. It’s what powers a metal detector’s search coil, creating the electromagnetic field that’s essential for detection.


  • Walker: A term referring to the US Walking Liberty Half Dollar minted from 1916 to 1947.
  • Whatzit: An unknown object that sparks curiosity, often discovered during metal detecting.
  • Wheatie: Slang for the US wheat back cent produced between 1909 and 1958.
  • Whispers, Peeps: Almost inaudible tones that may indicate the depth of a target. These faint sounds could suggest objects buried deeper underground.
  • Wide Response: Describes a target that generates an audio signal covering an area broader than the diameter of the search coil. This can sometimes indicate a larger or shallower object.
  • Wrap Up: The process of laying out all the finds at the end of a detecting session, either for a photo or to showcase them in a video. It’s a way to display and share the discovered items from the day’s exploration.


  • Zero Discrimination: Refers to detectors with a discrimination control that, when set to zero, accepts signals from all metals. This setting doesn’t filter out any metal types.
  • Zincoln: Slang for a zinc-formulated Lincoln Cent. Typically found in poor condition and considered an undesirable target for metal detector enthusiasts.