(Contributed by Ben)
Hello. Today, I’m going to talk about a few phrases to do with avoiding responsibilities, or not doing your duty.
1. To pass the buck
When you ‘pass the buck’, you say ‘this isn’t my responsibility.’ Someone else can solve this problem. If someone blames you, and you blame someone else, and make them deal with the consequences, you’re ‘passing the buck’.
2. The buck stops here
This is related to ‘passing the buck’. It means ‘I won’t pass the buck. I will take responsibility. I will fix it myself, or take the blame’.
3. To buck a trend
This is another ‘buck’-related phrase, but its meaning is quite different. If you do something different to the normal ‘trend’, you’re bucking the trend. If everyone starts to grow their hair long, and you have a very short hair-cut, you’re bucking the trend. If your company’s products are all selling badly, but one is selling very well, that one is bucking the trend. (This phrase isn’t really about responsibility)
4. To duck your responsibilities.
To ‘duck’ means to move your head down lower. If you are tall, you need to duck before you walk through a small doorway (or you will bang your head). To ‘duck your responsibilities’ means you avoid your responsibilities – as if you lowered your head, so the responsibilities would miss you. If you go on vacation during the busiest work month, you’re ducking your responsibilities.
5. To dodge a bullet
This is slightly similar, but it doesn’t relate to situations. If you nearly join a company, but then change your mind, and later you hear that the bosses at that company are very unpleasant, you could say ‘I dodged a bullet there!’ because you avoided a situation that would have been terrible.
Next time, I’ll continue this list with comments about ‘shirking’ and ‘skiving’.