whence BUCK NAKED?

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Tue Apr 6 02:26:15 UTC 2004

>I then checked HDAS, which under "buck naked" says "Also (vulgar)
>buck-ass naked." A 1952 quote (from Vance Randolph's _Down in the
>Holler_ says: "[In the Ozarks] the word _buck naked_ is avoided in
>polite conversation, although _bare naked_ _mother naked_  [etc.] are
>not offensive."
>    Evidently in this 1952 quote, "buck naked" was regarded as
>offensive because its origin from "buck-ass naked" was common
>knowledge to the Ozarks speakers.

It's not evident to me that this was the reason. Even if it was, I don't
believe that "common knowledge" (whether among Ozarkers or among
lexicographers) has much weight without some sort of a paper trail, which
in this case AFAIK is nonexistent. Of course my own conjectures as well as
the dictionary editor's are also lacking in this respect.

-- Doug Wilson

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