buck 1 (bŭk)
a. A male deer.
b. The male of various other mammals, such as antelopes, kangaroos, mice, or rabbits.
c. Antelope considered as a group: a herd of buck.
a. A robust or high-spirited young man.
b. A fop.
3. Offensive A Native American or black man.
4. An act or instance of bucking: a horse that unseated its rider on the first buck.
b. bucks Buckskin breeches or shoes.
v. bucked, buck·ing, bucks
1. To leap upward while arching the back: The horse bucked in fright.
2. To charge with the head lowered; butt.
3. To make sudden jerky movements; jolt: The motor bucked and lurched before it finally ran smoothly.
4. To resist stubbornly and obstinately; balk.
5. Informal To strive with determination: bucking for a promotion.
1. To throw or toss by bucking: buck off a rider; bucked the packsaddle off its back.
2. To oppose directly and stubbornly; go against: “Los Angeles County, the most populous county in the country, is bucking the trend” (American Demographics).
3. Football To charge into (an opponent's line) carrying the ball.
4. To butt against with the head.
Of the lowest rank in a specified military category: a buck private; a buck sergeant.
To summon one's courage or spirits; hearten: My friends tried to buck me up after I lost the contest.
[Middle English bukke, from Old English buc, male deer, and bucca, male goat.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.