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See also: Sassy



A modification of saucy, originally used in American English.[1]



sassy (comparative sassier, superlative sassiest) (originally US)

  1. Bold and spirited, cheeky, impudent, saucy. [from 1833]
    • 1833, Elnathan Elmwood [pseudonym; Asa Greene], “A Meeting of Black Politicians—Cæsar Johnson’s Speech on Nullification”, in A Yankee among the Nullifiers: An Auto-biography, 2nd edition, New York, N.Y.: Printed and published by William Pearson; Cortlandt-Street, →OCLC, page 111:
      Yes, gemmen, we mus stan on our zarve rights. Wat! shall de sassy wite man Nullifly the Guberment? and shall not we, de color men, Nullifly de wite one?
    • 1840, [Davy] Crockett, “Colonel Crockett’s History of the Life of Gen. [William Henry] Harrison, alias Old Tippecanoe”, in The American Miscellany of Popular Tales, Essays, Sketches of Character, Poetry, and Jeux d’Esprit. By Transatlantic Authors, volume II, number 49, London: G. Berger, Holywell Street, Strand; Simpkin, Marshall, & Co.; and all booksellers, →OCLC, page 315, column 1:
      When the red skins seed that the British and Americans war going to clapper clawing, they thought it war time for them to raze up thar brissls, and look out for plunder. They begun to be a leetle too sassy for cumfirt.
    • 1867, Alfred B[illings] Street, “Perry the Bold”, in The Poems of Alfred B. Street. In Two Volumes, volume II, New York, N.Y.: Published by Hurd and Houghton, 459 Broome Street, page 129:
      Oh, did n't I handle my gun, boys, – / My gun, boys, with shout upon shout? / And did n't the balls rain among us? / And did n't the blood run about? / A shipmate was dashed dead beside me; / The splinters flew – death-yells uprolled; / Oh, sassy that fight of old Erie! / More sassy, though, Perry the Bold!
    • 1873, M. A. Avery, “The Guerillas.—Death of Major Hunter.”, in The Rebel General’s Loyal Bride: A True Picture of Scenes in the Late Civil War, Springfield, Mass.: W. J. Holland and Company, →OCLC, page 116:
      Brought her down with a crack of the bull-dogs, jest as she was makin' off: she's the sassiest of the whole lot, as white wenches always be.
    • 2006, John Wood Sweet, Bodies Politic: Negotiating Race in the American North, 1730–1830, Philadelphia, Pa.: University of Pennsylvania Press, →ISBN, page 303:
      Jokes about blacks were more closely drawn from English jokes mocking servants and Irish people [] Many other jokes featured sassy servants besting their masters by playing dumb and taking instructions overly literally—another trope common in English servant jokes.
    • 2014, Rachel Renee, “Dirty Talk”, in She Rules: A Must Have Rulebook for Dating, Bloomington, Ind.: Balboa Press, Hay House, →ISBN, page 125:
      But for those of you that don't know, what men really like, is for you to talk to them with a feisty little attitude. You spark their fire when you do that. The feistier and sassier you act, the better.
  2. Somewhat sexy and provocative.
    • 2014, Jane Costello, chapter 20, in The Time of Our Lives, London: Simon & Schuster UK, →ISBN, page 179:
      The top isn't really slutty. Just a little sassier, more revealing than I'd usually go for.
    • 2014, Kate O'Leary, chapter 1, in Twell and the Rebellion (The Como Chronicles; book 2), White Bear Lake, Minn.: Fire and Ice, Melange Books, →ISBN, page 5:
      There was only so much packing one could do that was appropriate for army training and I was pretty sure my sassiest outfit and latest face enhancers were not required.
  3. Lively, vigorous.
    • 2012, Jeff Koehler, Morocco: A Culinary Journey with Recipes from the Spice-scented Markets of Marrakech to the Date-filled Oasis of Zagora, San Francisco, Calif.: Chronicle Books, →ISBN, page 10:
      Olives and preserved lemons add sassy tartness to salads, chicken tagines, and fish dishes []
    • 2015, Gwendolyn D. Pough, Check It While I Wreck It: Black Womanhood, Hip-Hop Culture, and the Public Sphere, Boston, Massachusetts: Northeastern University, →ISBN, page 80:
      Talk-back or sass per Bell Hooks is "a gesture of defiance that heals...liberated voice" []

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  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2023), “sassy”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.