"piece of ass" huge antedate

Jesse Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Thu Feb 20 20:08:11 UTC 2014

Tipped off by an article in The Atlantic.

"piece of ass" is in OED from 1816 in possibly euphemistic variants like
"piece of stuff/skirt/tail", but OED's earliest with "ass" is from 1978.
HDAS has evidence from the 1910s onwards. But a history of fraternities
reveals a young Princeton man with this charming thing to tell a friend
back home:

  1857 J. Holland _Let._ 14 May in N. L. Syrett _Company He Keeps_ (2009)
  75, I did get one of the nicest pieces of ass some day or two ago.

Haven't checked the footnote in Syrett, so I don't know what the
ultimate source of the letter is.

Jesse Sheidlower

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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