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buck

4
[buhk]
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noun
  1. Poker. any object in the pot that reminds the winner of some privilege or obligation when his or her turn to deal next comes.
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verb (used with object)
  1. 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.
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Idioms
  1. pass the buck, to shift responsibility or blame to another person: Never one to admit error, he passed the buck to his subordinates.
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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. 2018

Related Words for pass the buck

dodge, duck, relay

British Dictionary definitions for pass the buck

buck

1
noun
    1. the male of various animals including the goat, hare, kangaroo, rabbit, and reindeer
    2. (as modifier)a buck antelope
  1. Southern African an antelope or deer of either sex
  2. US informal a young man
  3. archaic a robust spirited young man
  4. archaic a dandy; fop
  5. the act of bucking
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verb
  1. (intr) (of a horse or other animal) to jump vertically, with legs stiff and back arched
  2. (tr) (of a horse, etc) to throw (its rider) by bucking
  3. (when intr , often foll by against) informal, mainly US and Canadian to resist or oppose obstinatelyto buck against change; to buck change
  4. (tr; usually passive) informal to cheer or encourageI was very bucked at passing the exam
  5. US and Canadian informal (esp of a car) to move forward jerkily; jolt
  6. US and Canadian to charge against (something) with the head down; butt
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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
noun
  1. US, Canadian and Australian informal a dollar
  2. Southern African informal a rand
  3. a fast buck easily gained money
  4. bang for one's buck See bang 1 (def. 15)
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Word Origin for buck

C19: of obscure origin

buck

3
noun
  1. gymnastics a type of vaulting horse
  2. US and Canadian a stand for timber during sawingAlso called (in Britain and certain other countries): sawhorse
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verb
  1. (tr) US and Canadian to cut (a felled or fallen tree) into lengths
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Word Origin for buck

C19: short for sawbuck

buck

4
noun
  1. poker a marker in the jackpot to remind the winner of some obligation when his turn comes to deal
  2. pass the buck informal to shift blame or responsibility onto another
  3. the buck stops here informal the ultimate responsibility lies here
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Word Origin for buck

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

Buck

noun
  1. Pearl S (ydenstricker). 1892–1973, US novelist, noted particularly for her novel of Chinese life The Good Earth (1931): Nobel prize for literature 1938
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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

buck

n.1

"male deer," c.1300, earlier "male goat;" from Old English bucca "male goat," from Proto-Germanic *bukkon (cf. Old Saxon buck, Middle Dutch boc, Dutch bok, Old High German boc, German Bock, Old Norse bokkr), perhaps from a PIE root *bhugo (cf. Avestan buza "buck, goat," Armenian buc "lamb"), but some speculate that it is from a lost pre-Germanic language. Barnhart says Old English buc "male deer," listed in some sources, is a "ghost word or scribal error."

Meaning "dollar" is 1856, American English, perhaps an abbreviation of buckskin, a unit of trade among Indians and Europeans in frontier days, attested in this sense from 1748. Pass the buck is first recorded in the literal sense 1865, American English:

The 'buck' is any inanimate object, usually knife or pencil, which is thrown into a jack pot and temporarily taken by the winner of the pot. Whenever the deal reaches the holder of the 'buck', a new jack pot must be made. [J.W. Keller, "Draw Poker," 1887]

Perhaps originally especially a buck-handled knife. The figurative sense of "shift responsibility" is first recorded 1912. Buck private is recorded by 1870s, of uncertain signification.

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buck

v.

1848, apparently with a sense of "jump like a buck," from buck (n.1). Related: Bucked; bucking. Buck up "cheer up" is from 1844.

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buck

n.2

"sawhorse," 1817, American English, apparently from Dutch bok "trestle."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

pass the buck in Culture

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.)

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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.

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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
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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.