ass (n), latter part of compounds, person

sigurdur130

Senior Member
Icelandic - Reykjavík
"Get your broke-ass home." "Kick his sorry-ass out of here."

I believe Wordreference does not currently cover this sese of the word "ass". Dictionary.com (Definition of ass | Dictionary.com) defines it as "a combining form of ass in the sense of “stupid person“ or “the buttocks,“ used in vulgar slang words as an intensifier or with disparaging intent"
 
  • The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    "Get your broke-ass home." "Kick his sorry-ass out of here."

    I believe Wordreference does not currently cover this sese of the word "ass". Dictionary.com (Definition of ass | Dictionary.com) defines it as "a combining form of ass in the sense of “stupid person“ or “the buttocks,“ used in vulgar slang words as an intensifier or with disparaging intent"
    In the US "sorry-ass" and similar expressions are understood to be using "ass" in the sense of buttocks. The use of "ass" to mean "idiot, jerk" is not involved in this case.
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    American English (New England and NYC)
    Agreed. 'Get your ass out of bed' is an example of synecdoche. The speaker wants the person to get out of bed.
    Adding an adjective like 'sorry' as in 'Get your sorry ass out of bed' just describes the buttocks in question -- and therefore the person -- as being generally useless, deplorable, or pitiful.

    I think dictionary.com is wrong about 'big-ass' and 'dumb-ass.' the addition '-ass' per se has nothing to do with being stupid; it's just an intensifier.
    A big-ass truck is not a stupid truck; it's a large truck with a powerful engine (and super-large tires help convey "big-assedness" :) ).
     
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    analeeh

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    I would say using the hyphen in your examples is wrong. '-ass' as a suffix is an adjective intensifier or expletive. 'Sorry-ass' is an intensified version of 'sorry' in the adjective sense, and is stressed differently from 'sorry ass'. Your examples are the use of 'ass' as a sort of pronoun, in which case we normally write adjectives attached to it normally: 'get your sorry ass out of bed' = 'get your sorry self out of bed'.
     

    The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I would say using the hyphen in your examples is wrong. '-ass' as a suffix is an adjective intensifier or expletive. 'Sorry-ass' is an intensified version of 'sorry' in the adjective sense, and is stressed differently from 'sorry ass'. Your examples are the use of 'ass' as a sort of pronoun, in which case we normally write adjectives attached to it normally: 'get your sorry ass out of bed' = 'get your sorry self out of bed'.
    Agreed. "Get your sorry ass out of bed" requires no hyphen. "Don't give me any lame-ass excuses" does.
     

    dizmayed

    Member
    English-USA
    This use of -ass is pervasive, complicated and unpredictable. It's a definite challenge for English learners. Usually it's used in lower registers but still permeates speech and writing at all levels.

    < Video link and directions to find video removed. Cagey, moderator >
     
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