[Ads-l] _-ass_ (UNCLASSIFIED)

Mullins, Bill CIV (US) william.d.mullins18.civ at MAIL.MIL
Fri Jun 10 15:38:39 UTC 2016


> "Silly ass" was virtually SE (esp. in Britain), though it's a little unusual to see it used  as an adjective.
> I doubt that it was much of an influence on intensive "-assed,"
> because it seems largely to have been an upper-class thing.
> One slang dictionary I could name has cites from the 1920s - and an American adj. "silly-ass" from 1919-20.  Lawrence of Arabia included
> "short-arsed" in a diary entry for 1922.
> JL

_NY Herald_ 26 Nov 1842 p 2 col 5 (Chronicling America)
"Bill Blackburne, a notorious brawler, and a prominent one, to say the least of him, made a very silly ass of himself, and murdered more of the King's English that he did justice to the cause of Mr. Van Buren."

Troy KS _Weekly Kansas Chief_ 16 Jul 1896 p 2 col 4 (Newspapers.com)
"Of all the miserable, wishy-washy, half-ass, skulking, demoralizing sheets, the Atchison Champion, founded by John A. Martin, takes the cake."

Troy KS _Weekly Kansas Chief_ 27 Jul 1899 p 4 (Newspapers.com)
[reprinted a letter to one Dr. Myers -- capitalization, spelling and format from original]
*********QUOTE STARTS*********
Dr, Myers

YOU Half assed old 
mule, this is a A WARNING
one wILL BE A STICK of 
dammite under that darned
house of yours, Naw TAKE
our Advise, if we Hear AN
other word out of you, THIS
WILL Be your fate, your House 
is doomed.  NoW for your life
be quiet,
*********QUOTE ENDS*********
Other reprinted letters include:
"you s--- Of a B----"
"take timely warning
You are a Baby f----r &
rope will be yonr end."
[for PUSH see OED n2 sense 9, "a band or crowd of thieves"]

"White Caps" seems to have been a local vigilante group; see "Indiana White Caps" in wikipedia

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

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