Buckley's chance

a very slim hope or no chance at all Example:There are just two chances, Buckley's or none.Etymology:This term is well known in both Australia and New Zealand but doesn't seem to be recorded anywhere else. That suggests that the Buckley concerned is a local person. The expression has been known in various forms; there are also the older and longer forms "Buckley's hope" and "Buckley's show"; the name is used alone in "New Zealand stands Buckley's of beating Australia at football", two notional possibilities that in reality amount to next to no chance at all. There are, as it happens, just two known choices for the answer about its etymology. One points to William Buckley, a convict in the early days of European settlement in Australia, who escaped in 1803 from the short-lived penal settlement at Port Philip Bay (where Melbourne is today) and lived for 32 years with the Aborigines in southern Victoria, gaining the sobriquet of The Wild White Man, before giving himself up and being pardoned. The implication is that, like Buckley, you have no chance of success, it being assumed that you measure success by an escape to a part of Australia colonised by European immigrants. One problem is that Buckley died in 1856, whereas the expression doesn't appear in print until 1895 (though that isn't a conclusive objection, since phrases are often transmitted orally for years before they get written down and Buckley's story became one of the most common anecdotes told about the early days of colonisation). The other possibility links it with the department store in Melbourne run by Messrs Buckley and Nunn, so that the expanded version, "there are just two chances, Buckley's or none", is a pun. However, that phrase isn't recorded until 1953 and one need to have William Buckley's exploits in mind before the pun achieves its full force.One must take his choice. At this distance in time our chance of finding out which, if either, is right is roughly Buckley's.

Dictionary of Australian slang . 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Buckley's chance — UK / US or Buckley s UK [ˌbʌklɪz ˈtʃɑːns] / US [ˌbʌklɪz ˈtʃæns] noun [uncountable] Australian informal used to mean that someone has no chance of achieving a particular goal He s got Buckley s chance of finishing his exams this year …   English dictionary

  • Buckley's chance — Australian. no chance at all or only a slim hope. Also called Buckley s and none, Buckley s hope. [1870 75; orig. obscure] * * * Buckley’s chance UK US noun [uncountable] australian informal used to mean that someone has no chance of achieving a… …   Useful english dictionary

  • buckley's chance — Australian Slang a very slim hope or no chance at all Example:There are just two chances, Buckley s or none.Etymology:This term is well known in both Australia and New Zealand but doesn t seem to be recorded anywhere else. That suggests that the… …   English dialects glossary

  • Buckley's chance — Australian. no chance at all or only a slim hope. Also called Buckley s and none, Buckley s hope. [1870 75; orig. obscure] * * * …   Universalium

  • Buckley's chance — n Australian no chance at all or very little chance. The eponymous Buckley was an escaped convict who surrendered to the authorities after 32 years on the run, dying one year later in 1956 …   Contemporary slang

  • Buckley's chance — noun A very small chance. Syn: Buckleys See Also: Buckleys and none …   Wiktionary

  • not have Buckley's (chance) — idiom (AustralE, NZE, informal) used to suggest that sb has little or no hope of achieving a particular aim Main entry: ↑Buckley sidiom …   Useful english dictionary

  • Have Buckley's chance — have no chance at all (possibly referring to a famous escaped convict William Buckley) …   Dictionary of Australian slang

  • have buckley's chance — Australian Slang have no chance at all (possibly referring to a famous escaped convict William Buckley) …   English dialects glossary

  • have Buckley's chance — Austral./NZ informal have little or no chance. → Buckley s …   English new terms dictionary


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