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buck buck n

1 also buck; buck, buck, how many . . up; bucket(t)y buck: A game usu in which one player climbs another’s back and requires that person to guess the number of certain objects out of sight; rarely buck a player in the game.[See quot 1969]

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  • 1899 Champlin–Bostwick Young Folks’ Games 120, Buck, a game played by two person [sic], one of whom places his arms across his breast, or rests them on his knees, and bends forward, resting his head against a fence, tree, or wall. This is called “giving a back.” The other player sits astride the back of the first, and holding up one or more fingers, says, “Buck, Buck, how many horns do I hold up?” . . The “buck” is sometimes blindfolded, and a third person often acts as umpire, to see that there is fair play. . . In another form of the game, a child hides his head in another’s lap, and the latter says: “Mingledy, mingledy, clap, clap, clap, / How many fingers do I hold up?”
  • 1949 AmSp 24.314 cVA, The game . . mummly, mummly, buck is known elsewhere. It has been played . . in central Virginia for three generations. . . The name for it there is bucketty buck. . . The words of the version that I know are: Bucketty buck, bucketty buck, / How many fingers do I hold up?
  • 1957 Sat. Eve. Post Letters sePA, Buck buck, how many’s up: half of the players bent their backs; half of the players jumped on their backs. If they guessed correctly the number of players on their back, the benders became jumpers.
  • Ibid MA, Game—Buck, buck, how many passengers have I got up.
  • 1958 KY Folkl. Rec. 4.174 seKY, “Buckety Buck, Buckety Buck”—Two teams of boys, with one choosing to “face the wall,” that is, the leader with hands against the wall, next one with head between his legs and clasping his thigh, and so on. Then the Buckety Buck is formed, the others, one at a time, run and jump on the backs of it. When all are up, the one farthest up holds up some fingers of one hand and says: “Buckety buck, buckety buck, / How many fingers do I have up?” The one under him makes a guess. If he doesn’t get it right, they must still “face the wall.” If he gets the correct number of fingers, his team gets to ride the buckety buck.
  • 1967–68 DARE
    Qu. EE33, . . Outdoor games
    Inf MD8, Buck, buck, how many horns are up? Player puts hands against wall, bends over; another person climbs on his back and holds up a number of fingers. “It” must guess how many. If he succeeds, rider becomes “it”; MA3, Buck buck: one player near lamppost; other players held the others’ waists. The end player would then leap onto the backs of the group and then ask the group how many fingers.
  • [1969 Opie–Opie Children’s Games 298–99, A remarkable feature of this game is that its oral formula, including the meaningless word ‘buck,’ appears to have survived from classical antiquity. . . In The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter, written about A.D. 65, . . there is an incident at Trimalchio’s feast involving his favourite serving boy: ‘Trimalchio, not to seem moved by the loss, kissed the boy and bade him get on his back. Without delay the boy climbed on horseback on him, and slapped him on the shoulders with his hand, laughing and calling out “Bucca, bucca, quot sunt hic?”]
  • 1971 AmSp 46.84 Chicago IL, Buck-buck-how-many-fingers-up.

2 A game in which one group of players climbs on the backs of a second group in order to build as large a pile as possible or to cause the supporting players to collapse.North, North Midland

chiefly urban

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  • 1968 Chicago Tribune (IL) 15 Sept mag sec 79, Buck buck. . . [is] a guy’s game. Big guys. O.K., two lines, two teams. First guy, No. 1 team, stand in front of the wall and brace your arms against it. Head down. All the way. Next guy, in back of him, arms on his shoulders, lean against him. Head on his back. O.K., next guy. One team, six guys. No. 2 team, first guy, start running—from across the street? O.K. Land on No. 1 team. Yeah, we held him. Next guy—run—jump—land. That’s two; we’re holding two. This next one’s a big kid, men.
  • 1968–69 DARE
    Qu. EE33, . . Outdoor games
    Infs PA76, 94, Buck buck; PA133, Buck buck: team lines up against pole or fence; other team jumps on their backs, tries to break them down; RI11, Buck buck: boy leans against wall, people try to climb up on him.
  • 1977–78 Foster Lexical Variation 43 NJ, The only example . . of a boy’s game is the anarchic pile on (Table 10). . . Omitted are five responses of buck buck, horse, or Johnny hump a pony, a game with more sophisticated rules but the same result.
  • 1981 DARE File Chicago IL, To play buck buck, you see how many men you can pile on top of each other. Two guys on their hands and knees form the base. The trick is to know how to build the pile right so that other people on your team can climb up without tipping it over. The team with the most people on its pile wins.