- a long-eared, slow, patient, sure-footed domesticated mammal, Equus asinus, related to the horse, used chiefly as a beast of burden.
- any wild species of the genus Equus, as the onager.
- a stupid, foolish, or stubborn person.
Origin of ass1
- the buttocks.
- the rectum.
- Slang. sexual intercourse.
Origin of ass2
- a combining form of ass in the sense of ‘stupid person’ or ‘the buttocks’, used in slang words as an intensifier or with disparaging intent: big-ass; stupid-ass.
Examples from the Web for ass
The revelation that, at age 42, Ben Affleck has one hell of an ass.Year of the Butt: How the Booty Changed the World in 2014
December 30, 2014
Inside, sat at a man on all fours, one high-heeled shoe in his mouth, the other protruding from his ass.Whip It: Secrets of a Dominatrix
November 25, 2014
I had one, small bite of a chocolate cupcake, and was on my ass in an hour.Meet the Julia Child of Weed
November 13, 2014
When it comes to protecting birds of prey, Illinois state law can be an ass.He Faces Jail for Rescuing Baby Eagles
November 2, 2014
The region of interest is known as the Amundsen Sea Sector, which means climate change is biting Earth in the ASS.Glaciers Lose 204 Billion Tons of Ice in Three Years
Matthew R. Francis
October 5, 2014
If a chap's not born with the gift he's an ass to think he can acquire it.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
And for heaven's sake, don't make an ass of yourself this time!The Foolish Lovers
St. John G. Ervine
Say,—Ass, how could you do it; Beast, what did you mean by it!Little Dorrit
But the German ass wore the blinders that science had made--and saw no angel.City of Endless Night
You are not to pass On these high questions; plainly, you're an ass.
- either of two perissodactyl mammals of the horse family (Equidae), Equus asinus (African wild ass) or E. hemionus (Asiatic wild ass). They are hardy and sure-footed, having longer ears than the horseRelated adjective: asinine
- (not in technical use) the domesticated variety of the African wild ass; donkey
- a foolish or ridiculously pompous person
- not within an ass's roar of Irish informal not close to obtaining, winning, etcshe wasn't within an ass's roar of it
- mainly US and Canadian slang the buttocks
- mainly US and Canadian slang the anus
- mainly US and Canadian offensive, slang sexual intercourse or a woman considered sexually (esp in the phrase piece of ass)
- cover one's ass slang, mainly US and Canadian to take such action as one considers necessary to avoid censure, ridicule, etc at a later time
Word Origin and History for ass
beast of burden, Old English assa (Old Northumbrian assal, assald) "he-ass," probably from Old Celtic *as(s)in "donkey," which (with German esel, Gothic asilus, Lithuanian asilas, Old Church Slavonic osl) ultimately is from Latin asinus, which is probably of Middle Eastern origin (cf. Sumerian ansu).
For al schal deie and al schal passe, Als wel a Leoun as an asse. [John Gower, "Confessio Amantis," 1393]
Since ancient Greek times, in fables and parables, the animal typified clumsiness and stupidity (hence asshead, late 15c., etc.). To make an ass of oneself is from 1580s. Asses' Bridge (c.1780), from Latin Pons Asinorum, is fifth proposition of first book of Euclid's "Elements." In Middle English, someone uncomprehending or unappreciative would be lik an asse that listeth on a harpe. In 15c., an ass man was a donkey driver.
slang for "backside," first attested 1860 in nautical slang, in popular use from 1930; chiefly U.S.; from dialectal variant pronunciation of arse (q.v.). The loss of -r- before -s- attested in several other words (e.g. burst/bust, curse/cuss, horse/hoss, barse/bass). Indirect evidence of the change from arse to ass can be traced to 1785 (in euphemistic avoidance of ass "donkey" by polite speakers) and perhaps to Shakespeare, if Nick Bottom transformed into a donkey in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (1594) is the word-play some think it is. Meaning "woman regarded as a sexual object" is from 1942. Colloquial (one's) ass "one's self, one's person" attested by 1958.