Talk:-ass

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True suffix?[edit]

Is this a true suffix, or just compound words using "ass" as the second word? Mglovesfun (talk) 14:38, 24 December 2009 (UTC)

My take on this is that it's closer to a true productive suffix, but the whole story is a bit more complex. See below. In any case -ass should be listed as a variant of -assed occurring in dialects where a final -d tends to become a glottal stop and -- my wild-assed guess here -- depending on which order the transformations happen in you either get -assed -> (-ass' ->) -ass or -assed -> -asst. I'm being free with terminology and notation here because it's been a good long while since I studied phonology in any formal way and I can only be bothered with proper IPA when it refers to beer.
Anyway, I would not count half-assed as an example here. Half-assed does not mean "really half" or such. It's more like half-baked Similarly jackass or wiseass in which ass means donkey (though I would suspect many people back-form these to fit the pattern). Some kosher examples that come to mind (including some on the page):
  • cheap-assed
  • crazy-assed
  • weird-assed
  • broke-assed
  • lame-assed
  • lazy-assed
  • ugly-assed
  • lying-assed
  • sorry-assed
I think the prototypical pattern here is to take some derogatory adjective and apply it to a person, with the person's ass standing in metonymically for the person. This is a well-known metonymy, as in "Get your ass over here," "Your ass is in trouble," etc. In fact, it's probably the noun form that's really prototypical, e.g., "Get your sorry ass over here." It's an easy step from "Get your sorry ass over here." to "You are one sorry-assed excuse for a ..." and so forth. In support of this, adjectives can pile up in either case: "Get your sorry, lying, ugly broke ass over here."; "You are one sorry, lying, ugly broke-assed excuse for a ...".
How to notate this in the form of dictionary entries is a bit problematic. "Adjective intensifier" doesn't seem quite right, but I'm not sure what would be better. --dmh 06:06, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
Thinking it over a bit more, after driving by a big-assed house, I'm still comfortable with my guess as to the origins, but -assed has definitely taken on an idiomatic life of its own. AFAICT, you can use X-assed where you can use seriously X with roughly the same meaning. E.g.,
  • a big-assed house
  • a purple-assed flower
  • some existential-assed philosopy
It still fits better with some adjectives than others. "A pretty-assed flower" sounds a bit odd, probably because the construction works better as criticism.
Note also that while you can substitute butt for ass in Get your ... ass over here. it doesn't work in You are one ...-assed excuse for a ...
Finally, I left a favorite off the list
  • silly-assed
--dmh 16:15, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
I haven't studied grammar/phonology beyond high-school English class, but I can offer my opinion from an Ohio point-of-view. "-ass" means what the entry says it does. "-assed" is rarely used here, and would mean something different; using either suffix to make a noun sounds just wrong. (To me, a "big-ass woman" would be a very big woman, while a "big-assed woman" would be a woman with a big ass.) 99.177.172.109 04:59, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

Deletion debate[edit]

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-ass[edit]

I don't think this is a suffix, the derived terms are compounds of word +‎ ass rather than words that are suffixed. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:07, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

So a big-ass truck is "big" + "ass" + "truck" ? Polarpanda 21:20, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
No, it's a big-ass + truck; but -ass is not a suffix. You can have a badly-made chair, but that doesn't mean we should have an entry at -made. Equinox 22:47, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
But "badly made chair" is "badly" + "made" + "chair". "Made" has an independent existence with this sense. Polarpanda 23:09, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
It isn't a suffix, it is a being used as an intensifier. We should include it as an adverb in the definition of ass but it shouldn't have a suffix page. - TheDaveRoss 23:56, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
If it was an adverb, you should be able to use it by itself, like "made". Polarpanda 00:17, 19 February 2010 (UTC)

See Talk:-ass for my two cents. I would put the main entry under -assed with this as a variant. I wouldn't file it under ass. --dmh 23:02, 14 August 2010 (UTC)

  • keep. The entry matches my experience with usage in Ohio and on the Internet. Also, I disagree that -ass is equivalent to -assed. Vtk 05:04, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
No consensus, kept. Mglovesfun (talk) 09:00, 7 October 2010 (UTC)


Derived terms/definition problem[edit]

bomb-ass, jackass, and jive-ass all don't seem to be derived terms because of the definition. I think the definition may need reworking. bomb and jive aren't adjectives in this context, AFAICT. I'm not really sure what sense or POS of jack is being used here. Still, there's a problem with that wording. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 05:11, 23 July 2012 (UTC)