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Re: Buffaloed

Posted by R. Berg on February 21, 2003

In Reply to: Re: buffaloed posted by Murphy on February 21, 2003

: : : Why do they use the animal buffalo, in to be buffaloed or I was buffaloed.
: : : thanks

: : Just a guess:
: : The bison or buffalo is not a meek animal as it is quite threatening looking; so maybe the term "buffaloed", which means "to intimidate", is from the animal's display of confidence or authority.
: Where might I find the beginning of the use of the term buffaloed. Doing great so far!
: Thanks again,
: Murph

The earliest quotation for "buffalo" as a verb (labeled U.S. slang) in the Oxford English Dictionary is dated 1904:

N. Y. Even. Post 5 Oct. . . . All the rest (of the newspapers) were what we used to term in the Southwest 'buffaloed' by the McKinley myth--that is, silenced by the fear of incurring the resentment of a people taught to regard McKinley as a saint.

That passage implies that "buffaloed" may have been used in spoken slang much earlier than 1904.