New racist etymology

W Brewer brewerwa at GMAIL.COM
Fri Mar 15 03:38:02 UTC 2013

WB' semantic spheres: (1) BUCK 'a frisky young cervid, especially a billy
goat, full of energy and horny' -->  (2) Native American: BUCK 'a macho,
rebellious young fellow, with the vigor and testosterone to boldly go where
level-headed thinkers fear to tread; not yet assimilated by the Borg into
hierarchical thinking; a newbie' (--> (3) Buck Rogers, Buck Benny Rides
Again) --> (4) US Army (not other services): BUCK PRIVATE 'lowest ranking
enlisted man (young, naive, inexperienced; basic trainee E-1 had no stripes
in 1968) --> (5) BUCK SERGEANT 'entry-level hard-stripe E-5 (as opposed to
wimpy Spec-5, with zero-prestige yellow eagle insignia, and no command
authority, or whatever it's called).
     In late '60s, there were almost no corporals (2-stripe E-4, generally
replaced by Spec-4); I was briefly a drill corporal at NCO school, and I
ran into a few NCOs who had been demoted to corporal E-4, because it was
less degrading than being a Spec-4, who couldn't get into the NCO club.
     Never heard of BUCK GENERAL, but guess it means brigadier general
(lowest ranking general officer). Should also be a *BUCK COLONEL (i.e. bird
colonel), *BUCK LIEUTENANT, but never heard of those either. Second
lieutenants were particularly prone to BUCKING FOR PROMOTION at EM expense.

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list