buck

4
[ buhk ]
/ bʌk /

noun

Poker. any object in the pot that reminds the winner of some privilege or obligation when his or her turn to deal next comes.

verb (used with object)

to pass (something) along to another, especially as a means of avoiding responsibility or blame: He bucked the letter on to the assistant vice president to answer.

Nearby words

  1. buchmanism,
  2. buchmanite,
  3. buchner,
  4. buchner funnel,
  5. buchu,
  6. buck and wing,
  7. buck bean,
  8. buck fever,
  9. buck for,
  10. buck moth

Idioms

    pass the buck, to shift responsibility or blame to another person: Never one to admit error, he passed the buck to his subordinates.

Origin of buck

4
First recorded in 1860–65; short for buckhorn knife, an object which served this function

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


British Dictionary definitions for pass the buck

buck

1
/ (bʌk) /

noun

verb

See also buck up

Derived Formsbucker, noun

Word Origin for buck

Old English bucca he-goat; related to Old Norse bukkr, Old High German bock, Old Irish bocc

buck

2
/ (bʌk) /

noun

US, Canadian and Australian informal a dollar
Southern African informal a rand
a fast buck easily gained money
bang for one's buck See bang 1 (def. 15)

Word Origin for buck

C19: of obscure origin

buck

3
/ (bʌk) /

noun

gymnastics a type of vaulting horse
US and Canadian a stand for timber during sawingAlso called (in Britain and certain other countries): sawhorse

verb

(tr) US and Canadian to cut (a felled or fallen tree) into lengths

Word Origin for buck

C19: short for sawbuck

buck

4
/ (bʌk) /

noun

poker a marker in the jackpot to remind the winner of some obligation when his turn comes to deal
pass the buck informal to shift blame or responsibility onto another
the buck stops here informal the ultimate responsibility lies here

Word Origin for buck

C19: probably from buckhorn knife, placed before a player in poker to indicate that he was the next dealer

Buck

/ (bʌk) /

noun

Pearl S (ydenstricker). 1892–1973, US novelist, noted particularly for her novel of Chinese life The Good Earth (1931): Nobel prize for literature 1938
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for pass the buck
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for pass the buck

pass the buck

To shift blame from oneself to another person: “Passing the buck is a way of life in large bureaucracies.” (See the buck stops here.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with pass the buck

pass the buck

Shift responsibility or blame elsewhere, as in She's always passing the buck to her staff; it's time she accepted the blame herself. This expression dates from the mid-1800s, when in a poker game a piece of buckshot or another object was passed around to remind a player that he was the next dealer. It acquired its present meaning by about 1900.

buck

In addition to the idioms beginning with buck

  • buck for
  • buckle down
  • buckle under
  • buckle up
  • buck stops here, the
  • buck up

also see:

  • big bucks
  • fast buck
  • more bang for the buck
  • pass the buck
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.