[Ads-l] _-ass_ (UNCLASSIFIED)

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jun 10 15:51:27 UTC 2016

Great antedatings of "half-ass(ed)," Bill.

Makes me wonder whether "half-ass" is the original, with the now
forgotten (?) meaning if "half jackass."

(Cf. "half horse and half alligator.")


On Fri, Jun 10, 2016 at 11:38 AM, Mullins, Bill CIV (US)
<william.d.mullins18.civ at mail.mil> wrote:
>> "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,
>                 WHITE CAPS
> *********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

"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

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

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