come across as somewhat of an ass

NewAmerica

Senior Member
Mandarin
Does “come across as somewhat of an ass" mean "show up more or less like an asshole", or "act like a smartass"? Simply a guess here.

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*On her blog “Back Reaction,” physicist Sabine Hossenfelder considers why I provoke so much hostility in other physicists. She notes that I “come across as somewhat of an ass. Here we have a man who has no higher education in any of the disciplines he writes about, but who believes he has insights that scientists themselves fail to see.”

Source: Scientific American Facing the End of Science
 
  • Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    come - WordReference.com Dictionary of English
    14 come across or upon,
    • [~ + across/upon + object] to find or encounter, esp. by chance:Look at these photos that I came across.
    • Informal Terms[no object] to do what one has promised or is expected to do:He finally came across and did it.See come through below.
    • [no object] to be understandable or convincing: The humor doesn't come across.
    • Informal Terms[~ + across + as + noun/adjective] to make a particular impression: He comes across as a cold person. The teacher comes across as very cruel, but that is misleading.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    I suspect the writer is using "ass" in the sense of "donkey", not "arsehole", i.e. someone who is ignorant as opposed to thoroughly unpleasant.

    Well, possibly both.
     

    Chasint

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I suspect the writer is using "ass" in the sense of "donkey"...
    That was my immediate thought. One meaning of "ass" is "stupid person". Quite unrelated to 'asshole'. In fact in this context in British English it would be the only meaning.

    British informal - A foolish or stupid person.

    ‘that ass of a young man’
    ass | Definition of ass in English by Oxford Dictionaries

    I note that it can be used that way in American English too:

    informal + impolite : a stupid, obstinate, or perverse persona pompous ass made an ass of himself
    Definition of ASS
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I suspect the writer is using "ass" in the sense of "donkey", not "arsehole", i.e. someone who is ignorant as opposed to thoroughly unpleasant.

    Well, possibly both.
    Outside of some Bible stories, Americans rarely refer to donkeys as asses. AmE "asses" are generally BrE "arses."
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I vote for a little bit of both. But mostly the stupid person meaning. Someone who is not as wise as he thinks he is.
     
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