Asshole buddies:speculative etymology

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sun Feb 8 15:28:05 UTC 2004

>>Doesn't this speculation all overlook the etymology of 'buddy'?

I haven't addressed the etymology of "buddy" since it was already old by
the time "asshole buddy" appeared (approx. 1940's).

I suppose probably "buddy" is etymologically a simplification of "brother"
but I'm not sure whether there is firm evidence one way or the other.

Or is the question about some specific sense of "buddy"? "Buddy system" has
been conventional since well before WW II, in the military and otherwise
(e.g., in swimming).

My speculation is not about the origin of "buddy" ... nor of "asshole" ...
my question is how the latter word came to modify the former with the sense
"good"/"close"/"intimate" (one might think that "asshole buddy" would most
naturally mean "buddy who is an asshole" rather than "close buddy").

-- Doug Wilson

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