jackass or jerk?

Uriel   Sat Feb 09, 2008 9:04 pm GMT
It's like calling someone an ass. If you go back far enough, you will find that the term comes from the term for the donkey, but because there are other similar words, also used as pejoratives, like asshole, they have all been conflated together and are collectively considered very rude.

And it doesn't help that in American Eglish, the little equine is almost never referred to as an "ass" anymore, so that neutral connotation is being lost anyway. Probably at a more rapid rate than in British English. To us, ass is almost exclusively used to refer to the rear end, and that is the first thing we tend to think of, regardless of true etymology.
Skippy   Sun Feb 10, 2008 3:53 am GMT
I am aware that "jackass" has nothing to do with ones ass, but that is often the connotation associated with it.
Damian in Edinburgh   Sun Feb 10, 2008 9:15 am GMT
Aye - here in the UK an ass is still a wee donkey.

Ass - if you delete the first "s", insert an "r" in its place, then finish the job by adding and "e" at the end then you have our equivalent of an antomical rear end. The word you end up with is, of course, a noun, but if you add "-ing" to the end of it you get a verb which in Britain simply means "messing about, acting like a fool, being a wee bit of a prat and a muppet", especially if you tag the word "about" after the verb.
Aidan McLaren   Mon Feb 18, 2008 5:51 am GMT
Ahhh...Americans and their disgusting contribution to the English language. Corrupting the word "arse" so that it becomes a synonym

"You know 'ass' has nothing to do with the human hindquarters"

Funny you should mention that, when at look at jeuvinile terms such as "big-ass". What exactly is that supposed to refer to?
Aidan McLaren   Mon Feb 18, 2008 5:56 am GMT
Not to mention a homophone as well as a synonym.
Lazar   Mon Feb 18, 2008 3:25 pm GMT
<<Funny you should mention that, when at look at jeuvinile terms such as "big-ass". What exactly is that supposed to refer to?>>

That's not related to the "ass" in "jackass".
guest   Mon Feb 18, 2008 4:28 pm GMT
<<Ahhh...Americans and their disgusting contribution to the English language. Corrupting the word "arse" so that it becomes a synonym
>>

We Americans did not corrupt 'ass' for 'arse'
We inherited that from our BRITISH forebears. The form 'ass' comes from Late Old English (before AD 1000)

I suppose you still say 'barse' for 'bass' (fish) too huh?
Aidan McLaren   Mon Feb 18, 2008 7:03 pm GMT
You did actually corrupt "arse", making it a homophone with "ass", refering to a donkey. They're not supposed to be homophones with each other.

And no, we do not pronounce "bass" as "bahs".
guest   Mon Feb 18, 2008 7:23 pm GMT
<<You did actually corrupt "arse", making it a homophone with "ass", refering to a donkey. They're not supposed to be homophones with each other.
>>

The origin of 'ass' is not American...
==
Until the late eighteenth century, "ass" presumably had no profane meaning and simply referred to the animal now mostly called donkey. Because of the increasingly non-rhotic nature of standard British English, "arse" was often rendered "ass". However indirect evidence of the change from arse to ass traces back 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 such a word-play. This usage was also adopted in America, which is why the word "arse" is not usually used in the United States. The age of Victorian propriety resulted in the rechristening of the horse-like animal, changing the name to "donkey" (not recorded in English before 1785, slang, perhaps from dun "dull grey-brown," the form perhaps influenced by monkey, or possibly from a familiar form of Duncan, cf. dobbin) to avoid any improper inferences. Some people in Britain have adopted the American version in writing. Although before World War I they were similar, the British pronunciations of "ass" /√¶s/ and "arse" /ɑːs/ are now quite different. While arse is commonly used in Atlantic Canada, west of the Ottawa river, ass is more idiomatic.
==

...,Idiot.
Aidan McLaren   Tue Feb 19, 2008 5:12 am GMT
If you were aware, you already proved of what I was talking about. I knew "ass" meant "donkey" in it's original sense.

However, that is not entirely correct about rendering "arse" as "ass" on account of non-rhoticism, they both would have sounded different despite the same spelling.

They would not have pronounced "ass" as "AEs" on account of non-rhoticism, they would have used the "long a" instead. Americans did indeed formulate "ass" as a homophone, to refer to either the buttocks or a donkey, obviously taking their time period with them but not correcting upon it. Both have the same pronunciations now.


I was talking about the origin of the when they started to become homophones, not where it originated from. I have studied the origins of English

And you are aware there is more than one pronunciation of "arse"? There is "AHs" and "AHrs" depending on the region. The latter is close to the way Anglo-saxons would have pronounced "arse".

Are you refering to origination of "ass" becoming a homophone or the origination of just "ass"? You're a little confusing there.

Maybe you should read before typing? Idiot. And maybe you "guests" should grow a brain and start calling yourself names?
Lazar   Tue Feb 19, 2008 5:56 am GMT
I don't think it has to do with non-rhoticism per se: etymonline.com and dictionary.com say that "ass", for "arse", was part of a trend of r-dropping before /s/ that yielded "bass" (from "barse"), "bust" (from "burst"), "cuss" (from "curse"), "hoss" (from "horse"), "passel" (from "parcel").
Aidan McLaren   Tue Feb 19, 2008 6:08 am GMT
In the sense you mean that "ass" (in the sense of 'buttocks') would've been pronounced with a 'short a' and not just a 'long a' (like 'ass' in the sense of a donkey) and no vocalisation of the 'r'?

If that is true, I stand corrected on that behalf. Americans should have made a distinction, however.
Guest   Tue Feb 19, 2008 8:08 pm GMT
<<Americans should have made a distinction, however. >>

Look, I don't know what your problem is Aidan, but we don't owe you Jack...Ass ; ]
Aidan McLaren   Wed Feb 20, 2008 12:26 am GMT
Please go away, guest. At least I'm not a patriotic child who's got my head up my country's arse.

And no, I hate my own country (Australia), so you can't go there.
guest   Wed Feb 20, 2008 2:38 pm GMT
<,Please go away, guest. At least I'm not a patriotic child who's got my head up my country's arse.

And no, I hate my own country (Australia), so you can't go there. >>

Haha, évidemment!
La seule chose mieux que le patriotisme est la misogynie! DROIT