[Ads-l] RES: _-ass_

David Daniel dad at COARSECOURSES.COM
Fri Jun 10 10:00:48 UTC 2016

My hypothesis would be that when they said "silly-ass" and "you're an ass"
back in 1905 or 1908 they were thinking of donkeys. When we say it today we
think of butts.

Enviada em: sexta-feira, 10 de junho de 2016 00:06
Assunto: Re: _-ass_

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Subject:      Re: _-ass_

On Thu, Jun 9, 2016 at 10:18 PM, Peter Reitan <pjreitan at hotmail.com> wrote:

> I was recently surprised to see "silly-ass" in a Jerome Kern song 
> lyric published in 1908, in the song, "Meet Her With a Taximeter" from 
> the Charles Frohmann musical revue, Fluffy Ruffles.
> "Take her in a Taxy that's the thing to do . . . . Till the chauffeur 
> cha=
> has some silly-ass mishap and a crowd gathers round!"
> Sheet music published by T. B. Harms, 1908, viewable at:
> http://digital.library.ucla.edu/apam/librarian?ITEMID=3DSY105865
> Here's my blog post that mentions it:
> http://esnpc.blogspot.com/2016/05/taximeter-taximeter-uber-alles-histo
> ry.=

That would be an attributive use of "silly ass" ('foolish person'), which
OED takes back to 1905:

1905   Punch 22 Mar. 214/2   He inquired if Phyllis =E2=80=98had done the A=
yet=E2=80=99? Which, as it didn't open for some days, was a silly-ass thing=
to say.

Also this from Orwell:

1945   =E2=80=98G. Orwell=E2=80=99 in Windmill No. 2. 18   The silly-ass En=
glishman with
his spats and his monocle.

I'd say "silly-ass" is independent of (though perhaps an influence on) the
later extension of "ADJ-ass(ed)" as a general intensifier, which the slang
dictionaries date to the '50s.


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