Posted by Al on April 10, 2003
In Reply to: Buck naked posted by ESC on April 10, 2003
: : : : : WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS? AND WHERE DID IT COME FROM AND WHY?
: : : :
: : : : Now we're just getting silly. A buck, as in a male deer, hardly gets dressed up in a white tie to match his tail. Its origin is likely some storyteller's attempt at visual description, at a guess to draw a laugh from his audience.
: : : : If this was a valid question, I apologize.
: : : BUCK NAKED - adjective. Also buck-ass naked, buck-born ~, stark buck ~. Origin uncertain, but perhaps alteration of butt/buttocks. Entirely unclothed.
: : : From "Dictionary of American Regional English," Volume 1 by Frederic G. Cassidy (1985, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., and London, England).
: : I have a feeling that an alternate form of this expression is "naked as a buck", and that the proposed origin stemming from buck equalling butt/buttocks is wrong. My suspicion is that the "buck" referred to is a derogatory term for a Native American brave or warrior, though some further research on the www shows that "buck" was also used to apply to male black slaves in the days of the US slave trade. In both cases at the time, both ethnic minorities would have been viewed as lowly savages and not liable to be wearing the trappings of white supposedly civilised society in their natural state. Again I can't remember why I think this, but I must have read something to give me this impression. Any further opinions?
: Anything is possible. But the "Dictionary of American Regional English" is such a scholarly endeavor that I figure the authors would have unearthed that connection if it exists.
Half century ago in the rural southeast US the expression was "butt naked" (only we said something closer to "butt necked") and it just ment naked.