Thursday, March 22, 2007
Out looking for trouble on Saturday night and wearing no clothes
Shaun and I get into many a debate regarding word and phrase definitions.

Another such instance was tonight,when I was showing him my new Cosmo Cricket Buck Naked chipboard pieces, we got into a discussion regarding "butt naked" vs. "buck naked" and the etymology of those phrases.

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So just in case you were wondering: (compliments of Wikipedia)

Dating from the 1920s, the expression buck naked commonly means completely naked or without a "stitch" (as opposed to partially naked). Synonyms include "bare naked", "buck-arse naked", and "butt naked" (also spelled, facetiously, "butt nekkid"). In the American South, "buck naked" or its corruption "butt naked" means not in your house, out looking for trouble on Saturday night and wearing no clothes.

The origin of the term is "buck naked" as in as naked as a buck deer. It originated during a time when people were less urban and a deer or other wildlife were not such alien concepts, and their references were sprinkled throughout speech. "Naked as a jay-bird" is another such cliché. It was further reinforced in its usage by the fact that a buck-skin is similar to tanned human skin. The corrupted term "butt naked" is just another example of mis-pronounciation that gets ingrained in people's speech. Just like "coming down the pipe" has garnered common usage for those that don't understand that the term "pike" is the proper word. Such corruptions are common in that a mis-heard expression gains acceptance as the erroneous phrase is also reasonably non-sensical when it is heard by others, and propagated.
Anonymous gretchen said...
well i am a smarter person for reading your blog!

Blogger Katie said...
why thank you for that edifying moment. it was transcendent ;)

Anonymous Sally said...
Laughing my butt-nekkid arse off!!!
You crazy girl, you!
Love your new that recent hair coloration??

Blogger Graced said...
I loved that. Tim and I both love the history of phrases. I also grew up hearing that phrase a lot as it was my favorite state of being.

Anonymous Leslie said...
That's so funny--Tony and I do the same thing, although it's not normally a debate. More of a "Hmmmm...I wonder where that came from." Then, "I don't know." Then we move on. :o) But, you'd be surprised how many phrases are said slightly differently between the north and the south. I grew up saying "caddy-corner", but Tony grew up saying "citty-corner".

I feel so much better now that I know about the butt/buck naked thing! Now I'll never have to wonder which one is "proper" when I'm running around that way. :o)

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