What does “pass the buck” mean? Learn how to use this idiom and what it really means.

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Today we’re going to talk about the idiom “Pass the buck.”

Now, literally a “buck” is a male deer, which is an animal. But this idiom is completely unrelated to animals.
To “Pass the buck” means to give or shift responsibility for some issue or some problem to somebody else, not yourself,

or to pass the blame to somebody else and not accept the blame yourself.

Now, I’m going to give you a real life example from the business world.

Let’s say that at my company there’s a problem. We were supposed to ship some products a couple days ago and we’re late.

So, I go to my supervisor and I ask him about the problem,

“What happened, what we need to do?” And he tells me, “It’s not my fault, you need to talk to my boss. Go talk to James.”

So, he doesn’t solve the problem. He does not accept responsibility.

He sends me to the next person. So, he passed the buck.

Sometimes people pass the buck again and again. So I go to James, he passes the buck.

So then I have to go talk to John. He passes the buck, and on and on and on.

And nobody wants to take responsibility or accept the blame or something.

But if this happens, and somebody finally does accept the responsibility for something then they could say,

“The buck stops here.”
“The buck stops here” means that I’m not going to make excuses,

I‘m not going to pass the blame to someone else or make someone else be responsible for this.

I’m going to fix this. I’m going to deal with this.

Now, I’m going to give you a few example sentences for “Pass the buck”:

“Don’t even try to pass the buck. We know it’s your fault.”

“Mr. Jones always wants to pass the buck.”

“Nowadays, everyone wants to pass the buck and not accept responsibility.”

“Don’t worry. I’m going to solve this. The buck stops here.”

Okay, I hope that this helped you. And that now you understand “Pass the buck”

and also “The buck stops here.”

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