Pass the buck

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Pass the buck

Post by Archived Topic » Sun Oct 03, 2004 3:08 pm

Anybody, give it a shot.
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Pass the buck

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Oct 03, 2004 3:22 pm

Somehow ‘Anybody, give it a shot’ makes me queasy, but I’ll try to hold my supper down and answer it anyway.
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Facts on File Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins

PASS THE BUCK: The American slang word for a dollar may have its origin in animal skins that were classified as ‘bucks’ and ‘does’ [short for buckskins and doeskins]. The bucks, larger and more valuable than does (some 500,000 of them were traded every year in 18th-centruy America), could have become a part of early American business terminology (ca. 1800) and later became slang for a dollar.

But BUCK’s origin could just as well have been in poker. A marker called a ‘buck’ was placed next to a poker player in the games heyday, during the late 19th century, to remind him that it was his turn to deal next. When silver dollars were used as markers, they could have taken the name ‘buck’ for their own. Although markers called ‘bucks’ may or may not have given us the slang term for dollar, they are almost certainly responsible for the expression ‘pass the buck,’ ‘to evade responsibility’—just as a poker players passed on the responsibility for the deal when they passed the buck.
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Ken G – October 13, 2003
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Pass the buck

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Oct 03, 2004 3:37 pm

.. pretty easy to look up >>
The Phrase Finder
Meaning: Pass responsibility onto someone else.
Origin: "From the card game poker. A buck was a marker that indicated whose turn it was to deal. Passing the buck moved the deal onto the next player. Silver dollars were later used as markers and this may have been the origin of the use of buck as a slang term for dollar."
.. didn't like the sound of the last bit so another tinkle on the keyboard found the following >>
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.
NOUN: Games 1. A counter or marker formerly passed from one poker player to another to indicate an obligation, especially one's turn to deal. 2. Informal Obligation to account for something; responsibility: tried to pass the buck for the failure to his boss.
IDIOM: the buck stops here Informal The ultimate responsibility rests here.
ETYMOLOGY: Short for buckhorn knife (from its use as a marker in poker).
.. however in regard to the reference to buckhorn knife Encarta tells us "[Mid-19th century. Origin uncertain.]" .. hmmmmmm .. however "buck", as in "dollar" seems to have a different beginning >>
Wordorigins.org
Buck: The slang term for a dollar, is a clipped form of buckskin. On the American frontier, buckskins were often used as units of commerce. The term buck, meaning a unit of value, dates to at least 1748.
.. but as ever Ken will sort it all out for us .. *smile* .. as he always does ..
Wizard of Oz, Australia. 14/10/03
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Pass the buck

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Oct 03, 2004 3:51 pm

.. oooops .. seems that Ken and i were typing at the very same moment .. even though the date appears different one must allow for time zones ..
WoZ of Aus. 14/10/03
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Pass the buck

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Oct 03, 2004 4:20 pm

Wiz, Hope I did sort this our for you in my posting. One loose end that had been bothering me in my explanation, however, was how the poker marker got to be called a ‘buck’ in the first place. I had read the ‘buckhorn knife’ explanation in a few places, but noticed it explicitily missing in such reliable sources as the Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins and the Facts on File Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins. And since it was missing, I assumed it had somehow been discredited. One explanation of why it may not be considered kosher is provided in Charles Funk’s (of Funk and Wagnal’s Dictionary and Encyclopedia) ‘Hogs on Ice’ where in his etymology of ‘pass the buck’ he says:

“. . . . . The ‘buck’ was some sort of object passed from one player to another as a reminder that the next deal would fall to the second person. Because of the [later] practice of using a pocket-knife for the purpose, and because early knives often had buckhorn handles, it has been suggested that ‘ buck’ came from that source. That is possible, but, in my opinion, unlikely. Knives carried by the poker players of that period were more likely to be hunting knives than pocket knives, and were too large for so slight a purpose. A BUCKshot would have served the need, or possibly, a BUCKtail carried as a talisman."
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So in spite of the fact that American Heritage says that ‘buck’ comes from ‘buckhorn knife,’ I tend (from the above) to think that could be wrong and that they should have said ‘one theory is that’ . . .
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Ken – Ocotber 14, 2003
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Pass the buck

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Oct 03, 2004 4:49 pm

While travelling in Japan, i visited a shrine, the environs of which was populated with deer. My japanese guide then explained how the deer were considered to be sacred and that it was considered very unlucky if one was to die on the doorstep of your house. Therefore, if a deer did collapse outside your front door, to escape the possibilty of getting bad luck you could move it so it was lying infront of the next person along's house. Thus as one definition of "buck" is a male deer, hence comes the saying, "Pass the buck."
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PASS THE BUCK COMES FROM, A SHORT WAY OF SAYING PASS THE BUCKET WHEN BUCKETS WERE USED TO PUT OUT FIRES IN THE OLD DAYS...... GOT THIS FROM AN OLD FIREMAN... HOPE THIS HELPS
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[These two stories are examples of what are known as 'Folk Etymologies'- bogus stories made up after the fact to explain the origin of a word or phrase. - - Forum Admin.]
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Pass the buck

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Oct 03, 2004 5:03 pm

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