Green’s Dictionary of Slang

buckeye n.1

(US)

1. (also buckey, bucky) an inhabitant of Ohio (but note cit. 1828); also attrib. [the buckeye tree (Aesculus glabra, the American horse chestnut), which flourishes in the state and is featured on its flag].

T. Flint Arthur Clenning II 171: She put into his arms a third boy, a fine Illinois buckeye too.
[US]D. Crockett in Meine Crockett Almanacks (1955) 45: The corn was heaped up into a sort of hillock close to the granary, on which the young Ohioians and ‘Buckeys’ (the lasses of Ohio are all called ‘Buckeys’) seated themselves. [...] The old folks said the lads were wide awake – and the ‘buckeyes’ said there was no being up to the plaguey Irish ‘no how’.
[US]Cincinnati Chronicle 26 Aug. n.p.: People in the Atlantic States know as little about the high and beating heart of the Mississippi Valley, as we Buckeyes, Corn-Crackers, and Hoosiers do about Nova Zembla.
[US]T. Haliburton Sam Slick in England I 236: Why, as I am a livin’ sinner that’s the Hoosier of Indiana, or [...] the Bucky of Ohio.
[US] ‘Last Bloody Duel Fought in Ohio’ in T.A. Burke Polly Peablossom’s Wedding 176: Buckeyes do not now-a-days shoot one another.
Nashville Daily union (TN) 15 May 2/3: Your leader has been taken [...] with a strong escort of Buckeye soldiers.
[US]Semi-Wkly Louisianan 31 Aug. 1/3: The Nicknames of the States [...] Illinois, suckers; [...] Ohio, buckeyes.
[US]President Hayes in a speech at Providence 28 June n.p.: I ask every lady and gentleman to consider that here and now I give you a hearty buckeye shake [F&H].
[US]North Amer. Rev. Nov. 433: Among the rank and file, both armies, it was very general to speak of the different States they came from by their slang names. Those from Maine were called Foxes; [...] Ohio, Buckeyes; Michigan, Wolverines; Indiana, Hoosiers; Illinois, Suckers; Missouri, Pukes; Mississippi, Tad Poles; Florida, Fly up the Creeks; Wisconsin, Badgers; Iowa, Hawkeyes; Oregon, Hard Cases.
[US]News-Herald (Hillsboro, OH) 13 May 1/1: The Eyes of the Nation are Ever on the Buckeye State.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 29 Sept. 24/1: Fitz took Ruhlin’s left full in the face frequently and still kept after the ‘Buckeye’.
[US]Greenville Jrnl (OH) 26 oct. 6/6: Buckeye Notes — News from All Sections of the State.
[US]F. Hurst ‘Even As You And I’ Humoresque 268: Knock me around all you want [...] but let me be buried in the Buckeye State.
[US]H.L. Wilson Merton of the Movies 196: You’ll have to keep that bunch of Buckeye roughnecks from riding him.
H.H. Hatcher Buckeye Country 298: I never in my life heard a Buckeye get into his voice that quiver of ecstasy that is second nature to a Corncracker when he mentions of bluegrass and his mountains.
[UK] in Campbell & Campbell War Paint 28: [aircraft nose art] Buckeye-Don.

2. a rustic or country person.

E. James Expedition from Pittsburgh to Rocky Mountains I 22: The indigenous backwoodsman is sometimes called buck-eye.

3. an inferior person or thing, esp. one of no value, poor quality or cheap (but often showy) [the poor quality of the wood of the buckeye tree plus ? poor reputation of Ohians].

[US]C. Cist Cincinnati Misc. II 97/1: The buckeye [...] [tree] stood very low in the estimation of early settlers, and by a figure of speech very forcible to them, it was applied to lawyers and doctors whose capacity and attainment were of a low grade [DA].
[US]Berrey & Van den Bark Amer. Thes. Sl. 552: Buckeye [...] a painting of value, turned out in quantities.

4. (US) a small place of business, esp. one found in a slum area, esp. a cigar factory.

[US] in DARE.
[US] N. Eliason ‘Lang. of the “Buckeye”’AS XII:4 270: These small factories, or buckeyes, as they were always called by the cigar-makers themselves.
[US]New Yorker 15 Feb. 59: A buckeye is a small shop in which cigars are made by hand in a back room and sold across the counter out front [DA].