[Ads-l] "pass the buck" 1856 in brag game joins 1856 use in poker game

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Thu May 10 07:18:38 EDT 2018

Previously, Ben Zimmer reported a use of "pass the buck" allusively associated with poker in a book from 1856.[1]

Here is a "pass the buck" use in a Nov. 1, 1856 newspaper story (copying an earlier one), with the phrase associated with the game of brag (brag maybe being an earlier English-attested name than poker, also sometimes spelled, btw, pocre). From Weekly Bulletin, San Francisco [AHN]:

This amusing operation is conducted with all the apparent earnestness attention that ever as many an old "brag" player bestowed on a game for "five dollars ante, and pass the buck." --Butte Record (Oroville.)

Stephen Goranson



1856 ANON. in W. A. PHILLIPS _The Conquest of Kansas_ 303 At last Buck
Creek appears. We think how gladly would we '_pass_' the _Buck_ as at
'_poker_;' but we are not playing that game now, although, before getting
through, we got to '_all fours_.'



Also previously:

....here's a possible antedating of "buck" somewhat but maybe not quite as used in the game of poker, here called by the forerunner of poker called  "brag."

  "....The game had progressed for some time, when the 'pot' having been doubled and a ten dollar 'buck' had started, the brag had passed to the Colonel...."

Southern Sentinel, Plaquemine, Louisiana, Nov. 29, 1849 p. 1 col. 5. [via Lib. Congress]

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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