BUCK, (1) (From the O. Eng. buc, a he-goat, and bucca, a male deer), the male of several animals, of goats, hares and rabbits, and particularly of the fallow-deer. During the 18th century the word was used of a spirited, reckless young man of fashion, and later, with particular reference to extravagance in dress, of a dandy. (2) (From a root common to Teutonic and Romance languages, cf. the Ger. Bauch, Fr. buée, and Ital. bucata), the bleaching of clothes in lye, also the lye itself, and the clothes to be bleached, so a "buck-basket" means a basket of clothes ready for the wash. (3) Either from an obsolete word meaning "body," or from the sense of bouncing or jumping, derived from (1), a word now only found in compound words, as "buck-board," a light four-wheeled vehicle, the primitive form of which has one or more seats on a springy board, joining the front and rear axles and serving both as springs and body; a "buck-wagon" (Dutch, bok-wagen) is a South African cart with a frame projecting over the wheels, used for the transport of heavy loads. (4) (Either from "buck" a he-goat, or from a common Teutonic root, to bend, as seen in the Ger. bücken, and Eng. "bow"), a verb meaning "to leap"; seen especially in the compound "buck-jumper," a horse which leaps clear off the ground, with feet tucked together and arched back, descending with fore-feet rigid and head down and drawn inwards.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)