imaginative etymologies: BUCK NAKED

Lesa Dill lesa.dill at WKU.EDU
Tue Apr 6 20:04:36 UTC 2004

Buckskins??  Who were the "old timers" and why were there more around then, I
wonder? I'm sure my dad would have remembered all the naked Indians running
around.  I think I'll have to save that comment as a good example of folk
etymology--which I never can explain adequately to students.

RonButters at AOL.COM wrote:

> In a message dated 4/6/04 9:34:14 AM, jsmithjamessmith at YAHOO.COM writes:
> > Seems to me that "buck naked" could be from the
> > seemingly, to the eyes of Eurocentric settlers,
> > unclothed state of male Indians.  (And in 1928 there
> > were still lots of "old timers" around to pass this
> > use on.)
> >
> What is the relationship between Indians and the word "buck"?
> While we are speculating, we might also include the phrase "regency buck"
> that was used historically to describe young men at a certain period of English
> history and who, being young men, presumably liked to take off their clothes
> whenever it was prudent to do so.
> And of course a "buck" is a dollar bill. "Dollar-bill naked" is doubtless a
> phrase that could have originated in the practice of shoving bills into the
> g-strings of go-go boys.
> And of course "buck" has a good deal of similarity to the f-word, which
> describes an activity in which people tend to like to get naked.
> Or maybe people sometimes just buck their clothes off.
> Sometimes, especially in the winter it just plain sucks to be naked. Think of
> all those underclothed Indians in Massachusetts at Thanksgiving!

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