happy; elated.
(of a saddle or pack animal) to leap with arched back and come down with head low and forelegs stiff, in order to dislodge a rider or pack.
Informal. to resist or oppose obstinately; object strongly:
The mayor bucked at the school board’s suggestion.
(of a vehicle, motor, or the like) to operate unevenly; move by jerks and bounces.
to throw or attempt to throw (a rider or pack) by bucking.
to force a way through or proceed against (an obstacle):
The plane bucked a strong headwind.
to strike with the head; butt.
to resist or oppose obstinately; object strongly to.
Football. (of a ball-carrier) to charge into (the opponent’s line).
to gamble, play, or take a risk against:
He was bucking the odds when he bought that failing business.
to press a reinforcing device against (the force of a rivet) in order to absorb vibration and increase expansion.
an act of bucking.
buck for, to strive for a promotion or some other advantage:
to buck for a raise.
buck up, to make or become more cheerful, vigorous, etc.:
She knew that with a change of scene she would soon buck up.
a sawhorse.
Gymnastics. a cylindrical, leather-covered block mounted in a horizontal position on a single vertical post set in a steel frame, for use chiefly in vaulting.
any of various heavy frames, racks, or jigs used to support materials or partially assembled items during manufacture, as in airplane assembly plants.
Also called door buck. a doorframe of wood or metal set in a partition, especially one of light masonry, to support door hinges, hardware, finish work, etc.
to split or saw (logs, felled trees, etc.).
buck in, Surveying, Optical Tooling. to set up an instrument in line with two marks.
Poker. any object in the pot that reminds the winner of some privilege or obligation when his or her turn to deal next comes.
to pass (something) along to another, especially as a means of avoiding responsibility or blame:
He bucked the letter on to the assistant vice president to answer.
pass the buck, to shift responsibility or blame to another person:
Never one to admit error, he passed the buck to his subordinates.
lye used for washing clothes.
clothes washed in lye.
to wash or bleach (clothes) in lye.
Contemporary Examples

‘Slut, Bitch, Dyke’—Joan of Arc and the Modern Military Woman Mariette Kalinowski August 20, 2013
10 Ways to Avoid Hipster Baby Names Pamela Redmond Satran/Nameberry October 13, 2008
Donald Kagan on Western Civilization David Frum April 28, 2013
The Most Inspiring Bits of Temple Grandin’s Reddit AMA Emily Shire November 17, 2014
Jesus Needs Reza Aslan, Author of ‘Zealot’ Kirsten Powers August 10, 2013

Historical Examples

The White Desert Courtney Ryley Cooper
Chip, of the Flying U B. M. Bower
The God of His Fathers Jack London
What I Saw in America G. K. Chesterton
Voyage Of H.M.S. Rattlesnake, Vol. 2 (of 2) John MacGillivray


the male of various animals including the goat, hare, kangaroo, rabbit, and reindeer
(as modifier): a buck antelope

(South African) an antelope or deer of either sex
(US, informal) a young man
(archaic) a robust spirited young man
(archaic) a dandy; fop
the act of bucking
(intransitive) (of a horse or other animal) to jump vertically, with legs stiff and back arched
(transitive) (of a horse, etc) to throw (its rider) by bucking
(informal, mainly US & Canadian) when intr, often foll by against. to resist or oppose obstinately: to buck against change, to buck change
(transitive; usually passive) (informal) to cheer or encourage: I was very bucked at passing the exam
(US & Canadian, informal) (esp of a car) to move forward jerkily; jolt
(US & Canadian) to charge against (something) with the head down; butt
(US & Canadian, Austral, informal) a dollar
(South African, informal) a rand
a fast buck, easily gained money
bang for one’s buck, See bang1 (sense 15)
(gymnastics) a type of vaulting horse
(US & Canadian) a stand for timber during sawing Also called (in Britain and certain other countries) sawhorse
(transitive) (US & Canadian) to cut (a felled or fallen tree) into lengths
(poker) a marker in the jackpot to remind the winner of some obligation when his turn comes to deal
(informal) pass the buck, to shift blame or responsibility onto another
(informal) the buck stops here, the ultimate responsibility lies here
Pearl S(ydenstricker). 1892–1973, US novelist, noted particularly for her novel of Chinese life The Good Earth (1931): Nobel prize for literature 1938

The ‘buck’ is any inanimate object, usually knife or pencil, which is thrown into a jack pot and temporarily taken by the winner of the pot. Whenever the deal reaches the holder of the ‘buck’, a new jack pot must be made. [J.W. Keller, “Draw Poker,” 1887]

Perhaps originally especially a buck-handled knife. The figurative sense of “shift responsibility” is first recorded 1912. Buck private is recorded by 1870s, of uncertain signification.

A dollar (1850s+)
A hundred dollars, esp as a bet (1960s+ Gambling)
buck private
A Roman Catholic priest (1920s+ Hoboes)
A young male Indian; Native American brave (1800+)
young black man (1830s+)
Any young man, esp a strong and spirited one; bucko (mid-1700s+)

To resist; defy; go up against •Often in the negative: You can’t buck the system/ Life is a combination hard to buck, A proposition difficult to beat (1850s+)
To work for personal advancement; aspire eagerly; covet: I’m bucking for that dealership (1880s+)
To pass along a letter, memorandum, problem, etc, usually without taking action; pass the buck: Let’s buck this one to the Committee on Hot Potatoes (WWII armed forces)

buck for
buck stops here, the
buck up


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