[Ads-l] Heard: "bud" > _butt_

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Feb 19 20:04:51 EST 2021

> On Feb 19, 2021, at 5:21 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> I remember the shows, but not the character.
> The Way of the Cliff Dwellers
> Privately printed [by R.F. Seymour], 1917 - Indians of North America - 64
> pages - page 24
> The costuming was uniform, every _buck naked_ save for a cloth of buckskin
> about the loins and richly ornamented moccasins .

Well, OK, but to say that every buck [sic—I’m just reporting] was naked is not to say that “buck naked” is a modifier-noun phrase here.  

You can see the character Wilson is remembering from Hill Street Blues here (Sepinwall is a frequent reviewer of pop culture):


Apparently George Costanza picked up on the name, although not the referent, as can be seen downthread. And the Wikipedia site for HSB fills us in on that character and the actor portraying him:

"Buck Naked" Gilbert (Lee Weaver, 1981–87)
Famous for appearing almost randomly, opening his trenchcoat, and yelling, "I'm Buck NEKKID!" So frequently did he make this exclamation that he was once booked as "Buck Naked". At one point he is a material witness in a murder trial, but he destroys his credibility after testifying by exposing himself to the judge. Known to prefer turkey dinners, as ham "disconveniences (his) stomach"; also insists on polyester or wool blended fabric (when he does wear clothes) as "wool scratches me up". He is once arrested and placed in a cell with a number of other inmates, at which point he delivers the following address: "Fellow Americans: I wanna address you on the subject of 'rights'! We got human rights. We got 'in-unALIENable' rights! We got the right to bear arms! An' I got a right to bear my po' black ass!" Predictably, he disrobes after this. 
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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