• synonyms


See more synonyms for asses on Thesaurus.com
  1. plural of ass1.
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  1. plural of as2.
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  1. a long-eared, slow, patient, sure-footed domesticated mammal, Equus asinus, related to the horse, used chiefly as a beast of burden.
  2. any wild species of the genus Equus, as the onager.
  3. a stupid, foolish, or stubborn person.
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Origin of ass1

before 1000; Middle English asse, Old English assa, probably hypocoristic form based on Old Irish asan < Latin asinus; akin to Greek ónos ass
Related formsass·like, adjective


  1. Cape fox.
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noun, plural as·ses [as-iz] /ˈæs ɪz/.
  1. a copper coin and early monetary unit of ancient Rome, originally having a nominal weight of a pound of 12 ounces: discontinued c80 b.c.
  2. a unit of weight equal to 12 ounces.
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Origin of as2

Borrowed into English from Latin around 1595–1605


noun Vulgar.
  1. the buttocks.
  2. the rectum.
  3. Slang. sexual intercourse.
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Origin of ass2

before 1000; var of arse, with loss of r before s, as in passel, cuss, etc.; 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, Armenian or̄kh, Hittite arras; akin to Greek ourā́, Old Irish err tail
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for asses

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • How true is it, that "sailors make their money like horses, and spend it like asses!"

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • An Italian proverb says: "The furrier gets the skins of more foxes than asses."

  • My mother, who saw that I did not relish the asses' milk, put in a word for me.

  • You might as well affirm the existence of mules, and deny that of horses and asses.



  • Their dogs and their asses might bear his name, but their own lives and liberty must answer to it.

    The Scapegoat

    Hall Caine

British Dictionary definitions for asses


conjunction (subordinating)
  1. (often preceded by just) while; when; at the time thathe caught me as I was leaving
  2. in the way thatdancing as only she can
  3. that which; whatI did as I was told
  4. (of) which fact, event, etc (referring to the previous statement)to become wise, as we all know, is not easy
  5. as it were in a way; so to speak; as if it were really so
  6. as you were
    1. a military command to withdraw an order, return to the previous position, etc
    2. a statement to withdraw something just said
  7. since; seeing thatas you're in charge here, you'd better tell me where to wait
  8. in the same way thathe died of cancer, as his father had done
  9. in spite of the extent to whichintelligent as you are, I suspect you will fail
  10. for instancecapital cities, as London
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adverb, conjunction
    1. used correlatively before an adjective or adverb and before a noun phrase or a clause to indicate identity of extent, amount, etcshe is as heavy as her sister; she is as heavy now as she used to be
    2. used with this sense after a noun phrase introduced by the sameshe is the same height as her sister
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  1. in the role of; beingas his friend, I am probably biased
  2. as for or as to with reference toas for my past, I'm not telling you anything
  3. as from or as of formal (in expressions of time) fromfares on all routes will rise as from January 11
  4. as if or as though as it would be ifhe talked as if he knew all about it
  5. as is or as it is in the existing state of affairsas it is, I shall have difficulty finishing all this work, without any more
  6. as per See per (def. 3)
  7. as regards See regard (def. 6)
  8. as such See such (def. 3)
  9. such as See such (def. 5)
  10. as was in a previous state
  11. as well See well 1 (def. 13)
  12. as yet up to now; so farI have received no compensation as yet
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Word Origin

Old English alswā likewise; see also



  1. an ancient Roman unit of weight approximately equal to 1 pound troy (373 grams)
  2. the standard monetary unit and copper coin of ancient Rome
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Word Origin

C17: from Latin ās unity, probably of Etruscan origin


the internet domain name for
  1. American Samoa
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symbol for
  1. chem arsenic
  2. altostratus
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abbreviation for
  1. Also: A.S. Anglo-Saxon
  2. antisubmarine
  3. Australian Standards
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  1. 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
  2. (not in technical use) the domesticated variety of the African wild ass; donkey
  3. a foolish or ridiculously pompous person
  4. not within an ass's roar of Irish informal not close to obtaining, winning, etcshe wasn't within an ass's roar of it
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Word Origin

Old English assa, probably from Old Irish asan, from Latin asinus; related to Greek onos ass


  1. mainly US and Canadian slang the buttocks
  2. mainly US and Canadian slang the anus
  3. mainly US and Canadian offensive, slang sexual intercourse or a woman considered sexually (esp in the phrase piece of ass)
  4. 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
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Word Origin

Old English ærs; see arse
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

Word Origin and History for asses



c.1200, worn-down form of Old English alswa "quite so" (see also), fully established by c.1400. Equivalent to so; any distinction in use is purely idiomatic. Related to German als "as, than," from Middle High German also. Phrase as well "just as much" is recorded from late 15c.; the phrase also can imply "as well as not," "as well as anything else." Interjection of incredulity as if! (i.e. "as if that really could happen") is attested from 1995, an exact duplication of Latin quasi.

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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.

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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

asses in Medicine


  1. The symbol for the elementarsenic


asses in Science


Idioms and Phrases with asses


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.