buck » butt
Spotted in the wild:
- “I was butt naked doing push-ups, trying to keep warm,” said Joshua Fuller, 23, of Saginaw Township, who was held in isolation in 2000. (The Detroit Free Press: May 11, 2005)
- They’d do well to turn down the throbbing house music–it’s not exactly soothing when you’re butt naked and drenched with brown gunk. (The Chicago Tribune: September 27, 2004)
- In a locker room filled with butt-naked, macho jocks… (The Somerville News: May 11, 2005)
- To be certain, as a toddler suffering from measles, I used to march “butt-naked,” as New Yorkers would say, behind some of the street-parades organized by the Young Pioneers. (GhanaWeb.com: May 12, 2005)
Washington State University’s Common Errors in English “PC”izes the transformation:
The standard expression is “buck naked,” and the contemporary “butt naked” is an error that will get you laughed at in some circles. However, it might be just as well if the new form were to triumph. Originally a “buck” was a dandy, a pretentious, overdressed show-off of a man. Condescendingly applied in the U.S. to Native Americans and black slaves, it quickly acquired negative connotations. To the historically aware speaker, “buck naked” conjures up stereotypical images of naked “savages” or—worse—slaves laboring naked on plantations. Consider using the alternative expression “stark naked.”
That is not to say that there was any PC motivation in what I’d think was simply misperception of the original phrase.
The fourth citation brings up the question of regionality. The author is on staff at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, where he teaches English and Journalism.