Which is correct, “buck naked” or “butt naked”?

English is a very colorful language. There are many terms and idioms that are used to describe the same thing. For example, when describing a person who is completely naked, some people will use the term buck naked, whereas others will use the term butt naked. Which of the two terms is correct?

Surprisingly, the answer is both. The term buck naked has been used since the start of the 20th century to refer to someone who is completely naked. The American Heritage dictionary says that it is a term from the US South. As the 20th century continued, the term became more popular. Some believe that the term “buck” was use in a condescending manner in the United States to refer to Native Americans and black slaves. So for some, the term buck naked brings to mind terms of naked “savages” or naked slaves working on plantations. Many have opted to use the term stark naked instead.

So, what about butt naked? Really, it is just a modernized form of the idiom that began to be used in the late 20th century. Both terms, buck naked and butt naked, are slang terms. So they rarely appear in formal text. An interesting point about colloquialisms and idioms is that there is no such thing as right or wrong because they are not designed to reflect the standard of or follow the grammar of conventional English.

In modern writing, butt naked is used more frequently in non-edited content. Content that is reviewed by an editor will use the term buck naked with greater frequency.

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