wordy wednesday: pass the buck

Today’s idiom: pass the buck

Meaning: putting the blame on someone else

Origin: This phrase originated in the game of poker when the next dealer would have some kind of marker, often a knife with a handle made of buck’s horn.  This was used to keep the game fair and the dealer trustworthy.  “Pass the buck” simply meant that the marker went to the next person and this usage likely started in the second half of the 1800’s.  Later a silver dollar was often used as the marker, which might be why “buck” refers to dollars today.  “Pass the buck” started being used figuratively in the early 1900’s.

Source: phrases.


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