buck private

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buck private (plural buck privates)

  1. (US, military slang) A private soldier keen ("bucking") for promotion; an ambitious private.
    • 2007, Tim Weiner, Legacy of Ashes, Penguin 2008, pp. 15-16:
      Bedell Smith was a shopkeeper's son from Indiana who rose from buck private to general without the polish of West Point or a college degree.