Origin of "Passing the Buck"

Updated February 23, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

The Question:

Could you tell me the origin of the phrase, "passing the buck?"

The Answer:

"Passing the buck" originated from a ritual practiced during card games. Card players used to place a marker, called a "buck," in front of the person who was the dealer. That marker was passed to the next player along with the responsibility of dealing. Eventually "passing the buck" became synonymous with passing on responsibility.

-The Fact Monster

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