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Post by spud » Sat Jun 23, 2007 7:38 pm

Today I found myself writing 'buckshee' in an email, ie meanihg free, and specifically getting away without paying for something that one normally does pay for.

Then I thought, 'Hey, does that date me? How long must it be since I last used the word, or heard it?'

Do members agree with me that the word is now dated?
Signature: spud


Post by mongrowl » Sat Jun 23, 2007 9:09 pm

buck·shee (bksh) Chiefly British
1. Something extra or left over that is obtained free.
2. An extra ration.
1. Free of charge; gratis: "If they deposit these shares, too, in the scheme, they will get further buckshee shares on a one-for-one basis" Economist.
2. Unsolicited; gratuitous: "The title was a bit of buckshee deceit, and had little to do with the plot" Financial Times.

Now I have a good word for what I have "repurposed".
Signature: All we can do is the Best we can do.


Post by Wizard of Oz » Sun Jun 24, 2007 7:12 am

.. spud if wish to read Ken in full flight and find out everything you ever wanted to know about repurpose then go here on Wordwizard ..

.. have heard minimal use of buckshee but not for a long time to my ears Downunder ..

WoZ of Aus 24/06/07
Signature: "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."


Post by gdwdwrkr » Sun Jun 24, 2007 12:16 pm

baksheesh baksheesh allah?


Post by Meirav Micklem » Sun Jun 24, 2007 10:27 pm

Well, I must say I did wonder if it's connected to the Arabic word "baksheesh" and my dictionary (or, rather, Collin's) says that's the word origin, but as far as I know the word "baksheesh" is the Arabs' euphemism for bribes, so I can't really see the connection.


Post by p. g. cox » Sun Jun 24, 2007 11:40 pm

It seemed to me that backsheesh was the Arab or Muslim term for a tip or a gratuity for services rendered, hence the connection to Buckshee.
Try, http://dict.tu-graz.ac.at/cgi-bin/Dict for a more complete derivation.
Signature: Pete.


Post by Shelley » Mon Jun 25, 2007 12:44 am

From Merriam-Webster's in the Wordwizard Resources:

Main Entry: buck·shee
Pronunciation:?b?k-(?)sh?, ?b?k-?\r
Etymology:Hindi bakhsis & Urdu bakhshish, from Persian bakhshish — more at baksheesh
Date:circa 1760
1British : something extra obtained free; especially : extra rations2British : windfall, gratuity


Post by Ken Greenwald » Mon Jun 25, 2007 3:03 am

And for those interested in the meaning of REDUNDANT pay close attention to Wiz’s above posting and the one that preceded it. And for many additional examples check most of my postings! (<:)

Spud, I’ve never heard the term BUCKSHEE (1916), but maybe that's because as the source of the above definitions (see Mongrowl), the American Heritage Dictionary (AHD), explains, it is chiefly British.

BUCKSHEE, also according the AHD, is a variant of the original BAKSHEESH. Other variations include BACKSHEESH, BACKSHISH, BA(C)KSHEE. But BUCKSHEE is the standard form today. According to Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang the meaning of ‘free, gratis’ also sometimes abbreviated to BUCK dates from the 1910s and is still in use, however, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it isn’t dated and old-fashioned. But, in fact, from the number of contemporary examples I found, especially in British newspapers, I’d tend to say that it isn't.

The word derives from the Persian bakhshish meaning present (gift), from bakhshi-dan, to give; now used in Arabic, Turkish, and Urdu. The earliest examples of its use in English print had the meaning gratuity, present of money, ‘tip’ and date from 1625, with various spellings:
<1625 “Who . . . would prostitute her selfe to any man BACSHEESE (as they say in the Arabicke tonque) that is gratis freely.”—‘Pilgrimes’ by Samuel Purchas, II. page 1340>

<1775 “A demand of BAC-SHISH, a reward or present; which term, from its frequent use, was already become very familiar to us.”—‘Travels in Asia Minor’ by R. Chandler, viii. page 1825>

<1781 “The BACKSISHE, or money to drink.”—‘Gentleman’s Magazine,’ page 113>

<1814 “And gave Boosy . . . four rupees, BUCKSHISH.”—‘ The History of Little Henry and his Bearer’ by Mrs. Sherwood, page 29>

<1854 “The relieved bearers . . . most unceremoniously demanded BUXEES.”—‘Oakfield’ by W. D. Arnold, I. page 29>

<1863 “Asking loudly for BACKSHEESH.”—“Ragged Life in Egypt’ by M. L. Whatley, x. page 84>

<1876 “Fresh BAKSHEESH to the unworthy minions of the harem.”—‘Times,’ 20 April>
The noun BUCKSHEE, meaning something extra, free, or to spare, an allowance above the usual amount, along with the adjective and adverb denoting free, spare, extra, gained its great popularity from its use by the British Army in India and Egypt, especially during WWI (see 1916 quote), though it was already seeing significant use by 1800.
<1916 ‘BUCKSHEE’ (probably derived from back-sheesh, meaning extra rations, or anything over after an issue has been made—BUCKSHEE, BUCKSHEE ‘fags’, etc.).”—‘Daily Mail,’ 1 November, page 4/4>

<1919 “‘BUCKSHEE’ deserves attention as probably, with ‘scrounge’, the most popular slang towards the end of the war.”—‘ Athenæum,’ 1 August, page 695/2>

<1920 “The police help themselves freely to BUCKSHEE refreshments.”—‘Outward Bound,’ November, page 66/2>

<1921 “To . . . give the goods almost BUCKSHEE to our cut-throat friends, the tribesmen of the N.-W. Frontier of India.”—‘Glasgow Herald’ (Scotland), 1 November, page 5>

<1941 “When we ask them to do anything for us they [[boys sent to the monastery to receive an education]] comply cheerfully . . . They expect no tips, they do not say ‘BUCKSHEE, BUCKSHEE,’ gain is beneath their dignity.”—‘A Folk-Song Collector’s Letter from the Mon Country in Lower Burma’ in ‘Artibus Asiae. Supplementum,’ Vol. 23, 1966, page 164>

<1942 “The Chief of Staff . .. snapped, ‘Want a BUCKSHEE trip, eh?’”—‘On the Wallaby’ by C. Barrett, iii. page 48>

<1945 “The BUCKSHEE fund, which sent 67,000,000 cigarettes to servicemen overseas during the war, is closing at the end of the month, . . .”—‘Winnipeg Free Press The Winnipeg Tribune’ (Manitoba and Winnipeg, Canada), 22 December, page>|

<1954 “Don’t thank me, my dear fellow: it’s no great generosity to take you in on a BUCKSHEE ticket.”—‘The Musical Times,’ Vol. 95, No. 1338, August, page 418>

<1972 “So long as the election has not been called Mr. Trudeau travels BUCKSHEE with his staff.”—‘Winnipeg Free Press’ (Manitoba, Canada), 21 April, page 11>

<1989 “With an average income of #8356;9–#8356;10 per week, few players could make a full-time living from dance music: ‘it was a hobby, and it was a hobby that paid . . . ’ As well as this there were ‘quite a lot of guys on the buroo [[Scottish] for unemployed] after the war and they were doing a wee BUCKSHEE in the band.’”—‘Popular Music,’ Vol. 8, No. 2. May, page 144>

<1990 “Britain refused to accept the renewal of the guarantee on current balances: ‘this is . . . an insolent piece of blackmail on the part of the Brazilians . . . intended to provide them with some BUCKSHEE sterling.’”—‘The Economic History Review,’ New Series, Vol. 43, No. 3, August, page 464>

<1995 “Mibby git a BUCKSHEE pint roon the Anchor that’s aboot it.” [[from Not Not While the Giro by Kelman, Edinburgh ( Polygon), 1983, page 30 (Scottish literature)]] ‘The Yearbook of English Studies,’ Vol. 25, Non-Standard Englishes and the New Media Special Number, page 147>

<1998 “Blood is thicker than bubbly . . . . Blood Brothers may be giving Willy Russell's musical terrific word-of-mouth now, as the show where the management mysteriously plied the audience with free champagne beforehand. The BUCKSHEE bubbly was a one-off, though, to mark the fact that this Scouse folk-opera - which had a first London airing in 1983 - is celebrating the 10th birthday of its current West End run..”—‘The Independent’ ( London), July 30>

<2000 “BUCKSHEE suite at the Ritz? Save your story for the jury. Home Secretary Jack Straw wants new laws to prevent British companies from offering bribes to foreigners in order to win lucrative overseas contracts. The only surprising thing about this proposal, outlined in a White Paper, is that the Government has taken so long to get round to it. The US outlawed foreign commercial bribes more than 20 years ago.”— ‘Evening Standard’ (London), 27 June>

<2002 “The only way Princess Michael of Kent will ever leave her seventy quid a week, seven-bedroom apartment in Kensington Palace is if Osama bin Laden is off target and mistakes KP for the Houses of Parliament. The idea that this jumped-up freeloader and her dopey husband would ever bow to public opinion and go quietly, having accepted that after 23 BUCKSHEE years at the palace they've had a good run for their money, is as laughable as it is unlikely.”—‘Sunday Mirror,’ 16 June>

<2004 “Even as they enjoy their freebie at Cliff Richard's pad in Barbados, the Blairs look forward to another BUCKSHEE break, this time as guests of the unsavoury Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi. ‘Daily Mail,’ 29 July>

<2006 “. . . Roxanna Mooney wished to extend an open invitation to all members of Committee to partake of a BUCKSHEE cod supper at the Drunken Sailor fish and chip outlet.”—‘Daily Mail’ (London), 30 November>
(Oxford English Dictionary, A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English by Partridge, Ayto's Oxford Dictionary of Slang, Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, Cassell's Dictionary of Slang by Green, and archived sources)

Ken G – June 24, 2007


Post by Meirav Micklem » Tue Jun 26, 2007 8:50 pm

Thanks, Ken, now I see the connection. If it meant "present" then the euphemistic usage is that the official is pretending to ask for a present before he processes your application. A present does sound much nicer than a bribe.


Post by spud » Tue Jun 26, 2007 10:08 pm

Ken, I'm most impressed by your list of examples, with dates. The number of recent quotations reassures me that the term is still alive and well in the UK, and that I can continuie to use it wihout making people think I'm a relic of the Boer War.
Signature: spud

Re: buckshee

Post by Erik_Kowal » Thu Jan 24, 2013 6:49 am

I can't help feeling that that is rather condescending towards those who actually are relics of the Boer War.

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