the buck stops here

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

Popularized by US president Harry Truman. The phrase is based on the metaphorical expression passing the buck, derived from poker gameplay, that came to mean "passing blame", or absolving oneself of responsibility or concern by denying authority or jurisdiction over a given matter.

Pronunciation[edit]

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Phrase[edit]

the buck stops here

  1. (idiomatic) A statement that no excuses will be made, that the speaker is going to take direct responsibility for matters, rather than pass the responsibility to higher authorities.
    • 1965, Truman, Harry S., MP2002-401 Former President Truman Discusses "The Buck Stops Here"[1], Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum, National Archives Identifier: 595162, 0:20 from the start:
      Well, nobody else can make a decision but me because I was the President and the final decision comes to the President, you know. I used to have a sign on my desk that said, "The Buck Stops Here." The buck stops at the president's desk when he's president of the United States, and he either makes the decisions or he lets them go by default, and you can't afford to do that when you're president.
    • 1994 January 25, William J. Clinton, State of the Union Address, 2004 Gutenberg eBook,
      If you will stick with this plan, we will post three consecutive years of declining deficits for the first time since Harry Truman lived in the White House. And once again, the buck stops here.

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