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.
Webster’s online dictionary lists at http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ass:
Origin of ASS
Origin of ASS
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.
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