We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Does "Butt Naked" Mean?

By Elizabeth West
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Butt naked, perhaps a misinterpretation or regional version of buck naked, is an idiom referring to a complete state of undress. The buck part has been thought to refer to various permutations such as a young dandy, a Native American or a male slave, but most likely comes from a term for buttocks. No one is quite sure where it originated. Joshua Milton Blahyi, a Liberian pastor and former warlord, earned the nickname “General Butt Naked” for his fighting style during the Liberian tribal war.

Idioms are expressions in which the words don’t mean exactly what they say, but in the case of butt naked, the meaning seems to be a bit more literal. In the Southern US, butt naked is used frequently along with butt-ass naked, bare-ass naked, and ass naked. This leaves no doubt that current use of the phrase refers to someone who is totally nude. The use of buck in the phrase is also thought to be a polite substitution for the more crude word butt.

There are conflicting theories as to the origin of the phrase, which was first heard in the 1920s. It has been found in novels dating from that time. Buck was used instead of butt, so indeed it may be the older version of the idiom. A slang word for buttocks, bucket, may have also been employed at the time and shortened into buck.

Others attribute the phrase to older origins, referring to the extremely nude condition of a de-hided deer. A common Anglo-Saxon reference for a male deer is a buck. This word was later used to refer to other male animals and eventually to male humans. Buck as a synonym for dandy, a man overly concerned with his appearance, has been heard since the 1700s. The derogatory usage for male blacks and Native Americans came later.

During the Liberian Civil War between 1989 and 2003, a young man named Joshua Milton Blahyi made a reputation for himself as a ruthless and unusually cruel guerilla leader. Elected as a high priest of the Khani tribe at the age of eleven, Blahyi and his troops would charge into battle nude, wearing only boots and carrying machine guns. They earned the nickname “Butt Naked Brigade,” and Blahyi became known as “General Butt Naked.” After becoming a pastor and claiming to be reformed, Blahyi confessed to his war crimes in 2008. The phrase butt naked is a fearful one for many Liberians.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Link to Sources
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.