[ as ]
See synonyms for ass on
  1. a long-eared, slow, patient, sure-footed domesticated mammal, Equus asinus, related to the horse, used chiefly as a beast of burden.

  2. Also called wild ass . an African wild ass, kiang, onager, or any of their subspecies.

  1. a stupid, foolish, or stubborn person.

Origin of ass

First recordedbefore 1000; Middle English asse, Old English assa, probably a pet name or diminutive form based on a Celtic form, e.g., Old Irish asan, Old Welsh asen, from Latin asinus; akin to Greek ónos “ass,” from a non-Indo-European language of Asia Minor, e.g., Sumerian anše “ass”

Other words from ass

  • ass·like, adjective

Other definitions for ass (2 of 4)

[ as ]

nounSlang: Vulgar.
  1. the buttocks.

  2. the rectum.

Origin of ass

First recorded in 1860–65; variant of arse, with loss of r before s, as in passel, cuss, etc.; see origin at arse
  • Also Chiefly British Slang: Vulgar, arse .

usage note For ass

See arse.

Other definitions for -ass (3 of 4)


  1. a combining form of ass in the sense of “stupid person“ or “the buttocks,“ used in vulgar slang words as an intensifier or with disparaging intent: big-ass; stupid-ass.

Other definitions for ass. (4 of 4)


  1. assistant.

  2. association.

  1. assorted. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

British Dictionary definitions for ass (1 of 2)


/ (æs) /

  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 horse: Related adjective: asinine

  2. (not in technical use) the domesticated variety of the African wild ass; donkey

  1. a foolish or ridiculously pompous person

  2. not within an ass's roar of Irish informal not close to obtaining, winning, etc: she wasn't within an ass's roar of it

Origin of ass

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

British Dictionary definitions for ass (2 of 2)


/ (æs) /

  1. mainly US and Canadian slang the buttocks

  2. mainly US and Canadian slang the anus

  1. mainly US and Canadian offensive, slang sexual intercourse or a woman considered sexually (esp in the phrase piece of ass)

  2. 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

Origin of ass

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with ass


In addition to the idiom beginning with ass

  • ass in a sling, have one's

also see:

  • break one's ass
  • chew out (one's ass off)
  • cover one's ass
  • drag one's ass
  • kick ass
  • kick in the pants (ass)
  • kiss ass
  • make a fool (an ass) of
  • pain in the ass
  • stick it (up one's ass)
  • you bet your ass

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