The Buck Stops Here: What Does this Useful Idiom Mean?

The buck stops here is a common idiom which one might hear during an English conversation. But what is the meaning of this saying? We are going to take a look at not only the meaning of this term but also where it originally came from. We are also going to be looking at some examples of how the phrase can be used in sentences and conversations, enabling us to better understand how it functions.

The Buck Stops Here

The Buck Stops Here Meaning

The meaning of the phrase the buck stops here refers to a decision which can be passed from person to person but ultimately rests with one person, usually the one in the highest power.

Origin of the saying

The phrase the buck stops here was originally coined by the former president of the USA, Harry Truman, he had a sign on his desk which featured the phrase.

“The Buck Stops Here” Examples

Examples in Statements

There are many instances in which the term the buck stops here might be heard, we are now going to take a look at some examples of how the phrase can be used within a sentence.

The first is a statement being made by a politician.

  • We realise that this issue has not been resolved but the buck stops here and we will make sure that an end is in sight.

The second statement is one being made by a father to his son.

  • You might think you are old enough to smoke but you are not, the buck stops here and I am saying you are to stop it.

Conversation Examples

We are now going to look at some conversations in which you are likely to see or hear the term the buck stops here.

The first is a conversation between a patient and a doctor.

  • Person 1: “Doctor, I do not feel that I have received the best treatment for my illness.”
  • Person 2: “I am sorry you feel that way. But we are trying our best.”
  • Person 1: “I don’t believe you are, and the buck stops here, with you. I need a resolution.”

The next conversation is taking place between a policeman and a crime victim.

  • Person 1: “We have caught the vandal but we are not going to press charges.”
  • Person 2: “That is very unfair, you are supposed to uphold the law.”
  • Person 1: “We do but in this case, there isn’t enough evidence.”
  • Person 2: “There was enough evidence, the buck stops with you, you need to fix this.”

Other Ways to Say the Idiom

There are many other ways to imply the meaning of the term the buck stops here, let’s now take a look at some other things you might say in its place.

  • You are responsible
  • Ultimate responsibility

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Last Updated on March 8, 2020

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