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Pass the Buck

To pass the buck means to give someone else the blame or responsibility for something, in particular something that has gone wrong.
Interestingly, the word
buck in the phrase to pass the buck is said to come from the game of poker. According to the freedictionary.com, the buck is the marker that indicates who is dealing the cards. When you pass the buck, you are passing the marker, or buck, to the next person indicating that you don’t want to deal the cards. In the same way,when you don’t want to deal with a problem in life, you can give it to someone else - you can pass the buck.


Image: healingdream / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Here are three article headlines using the English idiom to pass the buck:

Is President Obama passing the buck?
- ibtimes.com, September 9 2011, David Mange
Parents cannot pass the buck
- malaysaikini.com, February 11 2010, Jeswan Kaur
Living in a pass-the-buck society
-montrealgazette.com, July 7 2011, Peggy Curran

In these articles, the authors refer to Barack Obama, parents and society, as a whole, as buck-passers, i.e. individuals who avoid taking on responsibility for things that have gone wrong and, instead, pass on the blame to others. In what ways could these people or groups of people be said to be passing the buck?

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