Discussion Forum

Please consider registering
guest

Log In Register

Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search

— Forum Scope —

  

— Match —

   

— Forum Options —

   

Wildcard usage:
*  matches any number of characters    %  matches exactly one character

Minimum search word length is 4 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters

Topic RSS
Naming of animals
Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 
2013/02/17
6:30pm
Wandrin
Member
Forum Posts: 4
Member Since:
2008/02/25
Offline
1
0

When roaming the back roads of Wisconsin, I found a road sign "ASSMAN". Further searches found it was a surname for residents of the area. No doubt the origin in another language, the surname may have meant something else. Or did his ancestors chose the surname since they raised donkeys.

Questions: How come ass refers to the buttocks. When did that happen. How come ass became synonymous with donkey.

2013/02/20
8:21am
asusena Armenia
Member
Forum Posts: 67
Member Since:
2012/07/01
Offline
2
0

Webster's online dictionary lists at http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ass:

1ass

1
: any of several hardy gregarious African or Asian perissodactyl mammals (genus Equus) smaller than the horse and having long ears; especially : an African mammal (E. asinus) that is the ancestor of the donkey
2
sometimes vulgar : a stupid, obstinate, or perverse person<made an ass of himself> —often compounded with a preceding adjective <don't be a smart-ass>
 

Origin of ASS

Middle English, from Old English assa, probably from Old Irishasan, from Latin asinus
First Known Use: before 12th century
 
2ass
a often vulgar : buttocks —often used in emphatic reference to a specific person <get your ass over here> <saved myass>
 

b often vulgar : anus

2
usually vulgar : sexual intercourse
 
 

Origin of ASS

Middle English ars, ers, from Old English ærs, ears; akin to Old High German & Old Norse ars buttocks, Greek orrhosbuttocks, oura tail
First Known Use: before 12th century
 
 
Online Etymology Dictionary provides us with the following information:
 
ass (n.1)  beast of burden, Old English assa (Old Northumbrian assal, assald) "he-ass," probably from Old Celtic *as(s)in "donkey," which (with German esel, Gothic asilus, Lithuanian asilas, Old Church Slavonic osl) ultimately is from Latin asinus, which is probably of Middle Eastern origin (cf. Sumerian ansu).

For al schal deie and al schal passe, Als wel a Leoun as an asse. [John Gower, "Confessio Amantis," 1393]

Since ancient Greek times, in fables and parables, the animal typified clumsiness and stupidity (hence asshead, late 15c., etc.). To make an ass of oneself is from 1580s. Asses' Bridge (c.1780), from Latin Pons Asinorum, is fifth proposition of first book of Euclid's "Elements." In Middle English, someone uncomprehending or unappreciative would be lik an asse that listeth on a harpe. In 15c., an ass man was a donkey driver.

ass (n.2) slang for "backside," first attested 1860 in nautical slang, in popular use from 1930; chiefly U.S.; from dialectal variant pronunciation of arse (q.v.). The loss of -r- before -s-attested in several other words (e.g. burst/bust, curse/cuss, horse/hoss, barse/bass). Indirect evidence of the change from arse to ass can be traced to 1785 (in euphemistic avoidance of ass "donkey" by polite speakers) and perhaps to Shakespeare, if Nick Bottom transformed into a donkey in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (1594) is the word-play some think it is. Meaning "woman regarded as a sexual object" is from 1942. Colloquial (one's) ass "one's self, one's person" attested by 1958.
 
Forum Timezone: America/Los_Angeles

Most Users Ever Online: 1147

Currently Online:
19 Guest(s)

Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)

Top Posters:

Heimhenge: 745

Bob Bridges: 676

Ron Draney: 619

RobertB: 427

tromboniator: 368

Dick: 349

Robert: 342

samaphore: 319

dilettante: 286

Raffee: 238

Member Stats:

Guest Posters: 602

Members: 2986

Moderators: 1

Admins: 5

Forum Stats:

Groups: 1

Forums: 1

Topics: 3064

Posts: 16177

Newest Members: dbouton, questing, Albava950, Wasserstrass, Annie, tamigirlrocks, glenyss, Nero, Babar, Lodestone

Moderators: Grant Barrett (1417)

Administrators: Martha Barnette (828), Grant Barrett (1417), EmmettRedd (617), Glenn (1571), timfelten (0)