Slang dictionary

buck naked

[ buhk ney-kid ]

What does buck naked mean?

Buck naked is a very informal phrase meaning completely naked.

Describing someone as buck naked means they have on no clothing at all. The phrase is often used humorously to emphasize the absurdity or unusualness of being naked in a certain situation.

Close synonyms are stark-naked (which is somewhat less informal) and butt naked (which is considered more vulgar). The phrase in the buff means the same thing, but buck and buff should not be confused.

Example: So there I was, buck naked, when I realized someone had taken my only towel.

Related words

cheugy, stealthing, catch feelings

Where does buck naked come from?

Photo of an adult stag in a field with forest in the background, green filter.

The phrase buck naked has been used since at least the early 1900s. It’s unclear why the word buck is used in the phrase. (While the word buck is sometimes used as an adjective meaning “completely” or “totally,” this sense likely derives from its use in buck naked.)

One common theory is that the word buck in buck naked is used to compare a person’s smooth, naked skin to that of a buck, meaning a male deer. Another theory is that the phrase was originally based on the racist usage of buck to refer to Black people or Native Americans, who when enslaved were often presented naked at auctions. Still, neither of these theories has been able to be confirmed, and these potential origins are not well-known—very few people who use the phrase buck naked are aware of them.

The origin of the more recent term butt naked is also uncertain. One common theory is that it is an eggcorn of buck naked (a mishearing resulting in a new phrase).

Examples of buck naked

Ahhh yes. Sitting buck naked in the doctors office. This is exactly how I wanted to spend my Monday.
@tinypiranhas, January 5, 2015
After his salt-water-drenched clothes became too irritating, he navigated the rest of his trip buck naked.
Alex Vadukul, The New York Times, March 11, 2021

Who uses buck naked?

Buck naked is typically used in a way intended to be humorous, especially in stories in which a person is naked in an unusual or absurd situation.


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This is not meant to be a formal definition of buck naked like most terms we define on, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of buck naked that will help our users expand their word mastery.