[ ahrs ]

nounChiefly British Slang: Vulgar.

Origin of arse

First recorded before 1000; Middle English ars, er(e)s, Old English ærs, ears; cognate with Old Frisian ers, Dutch aars, Old Norse, Middle Low German, Old Saxon, Old High German ars (German Arsch ), Greek órrhos “rump” (from orso-, which occurs in compounds), Armenian or̄kh, Hittite arras; akin to Greek ourá and Old Irish err “tail.” All of the nouns derive from the Proto-Indo-European root ers-, ors- “backside, buttocks, tail.” Cf. ass2

usage note For arse

In American English, ass in the senses "the buttocks; the rectum" is considered to be a vulgar, impolite usage. The variant arse , which is chiefly British and regarded as vulgar by speakers of British English, seems to some American speakers to be a less vulgar, even daintier term than the more explicit ass . But this may not always be the case in America, so one should be just as cautious about using arse when in a polite setting.

Words Nearby arse Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use arse in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for arse


US and Canadian ass

/ (ɑːs) /

  1. the buttocks

  2. the anus

  1. a stupid person; fool

  2. sexual intercourse

  3. Australian effrontery; cheek

  4. get one's arse into gear to start to do something seriously and quickly

Origin of arse

  • Also called (for senses 2, 3): arsehole (ˈɑːsˌhəʊl), (US and Canadian) asshole

usage For arse

Dating back at least a thousand years, and taboo till around the middle of the 20th century, this venerable ``Anglo-Saxon'' word now seems unlikely to cause offence in all but the most formal contexts. Its acceptability has possibly been helped by such useful verb formations as ``to arse about'' and ``I can't be arsed''

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012