New racist etymology

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Fri Mar 15 02:23:12 UTC 2013

On Thu, Mar 14, 2013 at 8:10 PM, Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at> quited:
> d. *offensive*. ... any black male. So … _buck Negro_, _buck nigger_...

Damn! You people actually *use* these terms? For real? And you intend
"buck" as an *insult*?! And you feature in your minds "Negro"and not
"negro"? Really? This is no lie?!

Clearly, I've been living in a dream. I kinda felt that this must be a
living usage, if W's CO felt the need to apologize, lest he
inadvertently offend the modern equivalents of yesterday's United
States Colored Troops.

But I was hoping.

As for "buck sergeant," despite an attestation that predates my birth,
"buck sergeant" was fairly rare in my day and still felt "unnatural,"
like merely a punning on "buck private." People normally said
"sergeant E-5" or "acting jack," if there was ever a need to note a
distinction. An NCO is an NCO. As someone was heard to remark, "I once
saw a *corporal* in charge of of 200 head of EM!" Though a corporal is
an E-4, that herd could well have included - or even have consisted
entirely of - E-5's, if these were merely specialists. "Bottoming from
the top," as it were.
All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint
to come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

The American Dialect Society -

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