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Buck naked

Posted by ESC on December 11, 2010 at 12:45

In Reply to: Buck naked posted by Rich on December 10, 2010 at 21:48:

: Where did "Buck naked" come from?

The short answer, I don't know. But I am guessing that it has to do with the term "buck," meaning a Native American man. What I found in books:

The origin is unknown but probably is a variation of butt naked, according to DARE, Vol. 1, Page 420. (“Dictionary of American Regional English,” Volume 1 by Frederic G. Cassidy, 1985, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., and London, England.) My thought is that buck naked came first and butt naked is a variation. A second source has an entry for "buck-bathing," swimming in the nude that says "buck" means naked. No explanation is given there or under the separate entry for buck naked. There is an entry for "buck," the noun, that lists both backwoodsman and American Indian. The backwoodsman entry says they were called that because they wore buckskins. (“Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Volume 1, A-G” by J.E. Lighter, Random House, New York, 1994, Pages 281, 283, 285.) I am going to guess that buck naked has something to do with that meaning. A third resource lists several variations including "buck born-naked." (“Facts on File Dictionary of American Regionalisms” by Robert Hendrickson, Facts on File, New York, 2000, Page 32.)