The Alternative English Dictionary: asshole

Android app on Google Play

Entry definition

asshole {{wikipedia}} etymology Variation of earlier arsehole, from Middle English arshole, arcehoole, equivalent to ass + hole. Cognate with Norwegian rasshøl, Swedish arsle. Compare also German Arschloch. Attested from the 1370s, replacing earlier Old English earsþerl. First recorded in Middle English, as ers hole (Glouc. Cath. Manuscript 19. No. I., dated 1379, cited after OED), ars-hole (Bodleian Ashmole MS. 1396, dated ca. 1400, ed. Robert Von Fleischhacker as Lanfrank's "Science of Cirurgie", EETS 102, 1894, cited after OED.) Slang figurative usage dates to the 20th century; it was used of an uninviting place (compare shithole) in the 1920s, and then of an anti-social or despicable person from at least the 1950s (Harvard Advocate 137, March 1954). It also also used appositionally (as in "You're an asshole moralist", T. Chamales, 1957). pronunciation
  • {{audio}}
Alternative forms: arsehole (UK, Australia, Newfoundland), basshole (bowdlerization)
noun: {{en-noun}} (US)
  1. (vulgar) The anus.
    • {{quote-web }}
    • 1954, Ira Wolfert, An Act of Love: A Completely Retold Version of the Novel, 3383103, page 54, “'You talk as if you were born without an asshole,' he cried to Commander Semmes.”
  2. (vulgar, pejorative) A jerk; an inappropriately or objectionably mean, inconsiderate, contemptible, obnoxious, intrusive, or rude person.
    • 1965, Jan Cremer, I, Jan Cremer, 11363300, page 78, “He philosophised all day about Morandi, Klee, Mird and Picasso, and was such an asshole that he spelled "cunt" with a "d".”
  3. (vulgar) An unpleasant or uninviting place.
    • 1976, Felix Goodson, Sweet Salt, 9780804811736, page 254, “You oughta have better sense than to trust anyone with anything in this asshole place.”
  4. (vulgar) By extension, anything unpleasant or undesirable. Often used apposition.
    • 1979, Ronald Sukenick, Long Talking Bad Conditions Blues, 9780914590606, page 83, “... but when he started bugging the bartender to shut the asshole TV off because he wanted to have a serious discussion...”
  5. (obsolete, Scotland and northern England) A receptacle under a fire grate for collecting ash.
    • 1775, Tim Bobbin [John Collier], The Miscellaneous Works of Tim Bobbin, Esq., 642300491, page 68, “Esshole, Asshole, the hole under the fire to hold ashes.”
  • Asshole is an American English form, the corresponding British English form is arsehole.
  • As a pejorative for persons, this term is less vulgar and intense than fucker. While not intrinsically gender-specific, it is primarily applied to men; gender-specific pejoratives such as bitch are often used for women.
Synonyms: See , , or .
related terms:
  • (a jerk or rude person) dumbass, assclown, asshat

All Languages

Languages and entry counts