asshole

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

Variation of earlier arsehole, from Middle English arshole, arcehoole, equivalent to ass +‎ hole. Cognate with Norwegian rasshøl (asshole), Swedish arsle (asshole). Compare also German Arschloch (asshole). Attested from the 1370s, replacing earlier Old English earsþerl (anus, literally arse thirl). First recorded in Middle English, as ers hole (Glouc. Cath. Manuscript 19. No. I., dated 1379, cited after OED), ars-hole (Bodleian Ashmole MS. 1396, dated ca. 1400, ed. Robert Von Fleischhacker as Lanfrank's "Science of Cirurgie", EETS 102, 1894, cited after OED.)

Slang figurative usage dates to the 20th century; it was used of an uninviting place (compare shithole) in the 1920s, and then of an anti-social or despicable person from at least the 1950s (Harvard Advocate 137, March 1954). It also also used appositionally (as in "You're an asshole moralist", T. Chamales, 1957).

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (file)

Alternative forms[edit]

Noun[edit]

asshole (plural assholes) (US)

  1. (vulgar) The anus.
    • 1954, Ira Wolfert, An act of love: a completely retold version of the novel, page 54:
      ... his temper took charge of him. 'You talk as if you were born without an asshole,' he cried to Commander Semmes.
  2. (vulgar, pejorative) A jerk; an inappropriately or objectionably mean, inconsiderate, contemptible, obnoxious, intrusive, or rude person.
    • 1965, Jan Cremer, I, Jan Cremer, page 78:
      He philosophised all day about Morandi, Klee, Mird and Picasso, and was such an asshole that he spelled 'cunt' with a 'd'."

Usage notes[edit]

  • This term is less vulgar and intense than fucker.
  • Asshole is an American English form, the corresponding British English form is arsehole.
  • While this term is not intrinsically gender-specific, it is primarily applied to men; bitch is more often used for women.

Synonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

  • (a mean, inconsiderate, contemptible, obnoxious, intrusive, or rude person): dumbass

Translations[edit]

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References[edit]


Scots[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From ass, asse "ashes" and hole.

Noun[edit]

asshole (plural assholes)

  1. (obsolete) The place for receiving the ashes under the grate in a fireplace

References[edit]

  • John Jamieson, An etymological dictionary of the Scottish language: in which the words are explained in their different senses, authorized by the names of the writers by whom they are used, or the titles of the works in which they occur, and deduced from their originals, 1818