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Alternative forms


From Middle English ars, ers, from Old English ærs, ears, from Proto-Germanic *arsaz. Cognate with Dutch aars and German Arsch. Ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *órsos ‎(backside, buttocks) (according to Julius Pokorny and Carl Darling Buck).



arse ‎(plural arses)

  1. (dated in New England, current in Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, now slang) The buttocks or more specifically, the anus.
    • 1485, Thomas Malory, Le Morte Darthur, Book XII, chapter iij:
      & thenne he rode after the bore / & thenne syre laūcelot was ware where the bore set his ars to a tree by an hermytage / Thenne sir launcelot ranne atte bore with his spere / & ther with the bore torned hym nemly
    • 2011, James Smart, The Guardian, 12 March:
      As the novel progresses, he is shot in the hand with his own gun, shot in the arse with someone else's and lacerated by a prosthetic weed trimmer.
  2. (chiefly Britain, pejorative slang) A stupid, mean or despicable person.
    • 2007, Martin Harrison, The Judgement of Paris, p.282:
      “You're an arse,” Ellen said. ¶ “Please? You must like something about me …?” ¶ “I do. You're an arse. I just told you that. I feel comfy with you, because you're such an arse.”
    • 2007, L. A. Wilson, The Silurian: Book One: The Fox and the Bear, p.103:
      He looked at me, was just about to call me an arse, when I told him, “You throw it too hard. Try and think of the javelin hitting the target before you throw it. Let it all go through your mind first, see it, feel it, then throw it.” ¶ “Good advice, you arse,” he said and tried again.
    • 2011, Joe Abercrombie, The Heroes, unnumbered page:
      Felnigg. What a suppurating arse. Look at him. Arse.



Derived terms


arse ‎(third-person singular simple present arses, present participle arsing, simple past and past participle arsed)

  1. (slang, intransitive) To be silly, act stupid or mess around.
    Stop arsing around!
    • 1985, Sam McAughtry, McAughtry's War, page 10,
      He was university material, just arsing about as a rigger, arsing about, killing time with bohunks like me [] .
    • 2005, Keri Hulme, The Bone People, page 291,
      Pi, upset, roars, "Quit arsing around there and get cracking," and a dozen heads turn their way.
    • 2011, Jaine Fenn, Bringer of Light, unnumbered page,
      He was half-expecting a call from the lingua, telling him to stop arsing around, but his com stayed silent, so it looked like a certain amount of arsing around was allowed.
  2. (slang) To make, to bother. (If one cannot be arsed to do something, one does not have the will to make the effort to do it.)
    I can't be arsed to write that essay for tomorrow.
    I couldn't be arsed to write that essay for tomorrow.
    • 2008, Lynn Broadbent, Infinite Ideas Staff, Be Arsed: 365 Brilliant Ideas for Getting Off Your Backside and Living Life to the Full.
    • 2008, Guy Cullen, Loose Ends, page 2,
      You can keep all the macho bollocks that goes with the job. I can't be arsed who thinks what of me to be perfectly honest and I have no time for those that are.
    • 2011, Ray Banks. Beast of Burden, page 133,
      [] but here's the way you're supposed to run it: make out like it'll be a long, drawn out process, that you can't be arsed and that they shouldn′t be arsed because it'll probably end up doing fuck all except getting a copper pissed off at them.

Derived terms




arse f pl

  1. feminine plural of arso



  1. third-person singular indicative past historic of ardere



  1. feminine plural of the past participle of ardere