pass the buck / 甩鍋 / 踢皮球

A little boy’s toy car is missing. He asks his mom where it is, and she tells him to ask his dad. Then he asks his dad, who tells him to ask his mom instead.

It’s not uncommon that we see two parties shift responsibilities for something to one another. In Chinese, this behavior is referred to as 甩鍋 or (互相) 踢皮球, literally “to throw the pot” or “to kick the ball (to each other).” In English, you could say “pass the buck 1 (to each other).”

It’s your fault. Don’t try to pass the buck to me. (這是你的錯. 別想甩鍋給我.)

The seller and the bank passed the buck to each other, neither agreeing to refund the customer. (賣家和銀行踢皮球, 誰都不同意給顧客退款.)


  1. “Buck” originally means something put in front of a player that reminds him or her to deal at poker. 

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