Asshole buddies:speculative etymology

Dennis R. Preston preston at MSU.EDU
Sun Feb 8 19:58:42 UTC 2004

Well, that wasn't my point. Since "buddy" comes from Brit. dial.
"butty," and since its connection to "butt" has been claimed, I was
just speculating that the connection between "asshole" and "buddy"
might not be so far off (anatomically speaking, that is).


>>>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

Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor
Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic,
        Asian and African Languages
Wells Hall A-740
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1027 USA
Office: (517) 353-0740
Fax: (517) 432-2736

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