1 of 3

noun (1)

: any of several hardy gregarious (see gregarious sense 1a) African or Asian perissodactyl mammals (genus Equus) smaller than the horse and having long ears
especially : an African mammal (E. asinus) that is the ancestor of the donkey
informal + impolite : a stupid, stubborn, or detestable person
a pompous ass
made an ass of himself
He was an ass to her, dissing her script (which he apparently lost), telling her women couldn't be artists and that she looked so much prettier with makeup on.Lauren Piester
often compounded with a preceding adjective
Don't be a smart-ass.


2 of 3

noun (2)

variants or arse
ˈärs How to pronounce ass (audio)
informal + impolite : buttocks
often used in emphatic reference to a specific person
Get your ass over here.
saved my ass
informal + impolite : anus
offensive : sexual intercourse


3 of 3


informal + impolite
used as a postpositive intensive especially with words of derogatory implication

Examples of ass in a Sentence

Noun (1) the farm kept a few asses for hauling hay in and out of the field
Recent Examples on the Web
The Lions have a team full of fringe guys just playing their asses off. Parker Gabriel, The Denver Post, 28 May 2024 Most of us have been pushed and landed on our ass, instead of our feet, at one point or another. Chloe Berger, Fortune, 22 May 2024 There’s people who work with me now maybe listening to this like laughing their asses off. Michael Schneider, Variety, 21 May 2024 Both of them are outstanding people and coaches, and both of them professionally have had their ass kicked, professionally, and have lived to tell about it. Clarence E. Hill Jr., Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 17 May 2024 The iconoclastic rocker and his longtime collaborators Crazy Horse — which still includes co-founders Ralph Molina and Billy Talbot — take the stage with nothing but bare-knuckled rock n’ roll (not to mention some of the greatest songs ever written) to knock the crowd on its ass. Joe Lynch, Billboard, 15 May 2024 Genuine, kind, approachable, and just an all around stellar human being – Not to mention a kick ass director to boot! Michelle Deal-Zimmerman, Baltimore Sun, 22 Apr. 2024 There’s something about this wonderment, watching something for the first time and getting caught up in it and binge-watching it, that got Leon diving even deeper and trying to figure out how Jerry got all this ass all the time. Ben Rosenstock, TIME, 8 Apr. 2024 My dog started barking and running down the hallway, like, mom, the earth is shaking, get your ass up and run with me. Joey Nolfi,, 5 Apr. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ass.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun (1)

Middle English, from Old English assa, probably from Old Irish asan, from Latin asinus

Noun (2) and Adverb

Middle English ars, ers, from Old English ærs, ears; akin to Old High German & Old Norse ars buttocks, Greek orrhos buttocks, oura tail

First Known Use

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


circa 1920, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ass was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near ass

Cite this Entry

“Ass.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


: any of several mammals resembling but smaller than the related horses and having a shorter mane, shorter hair on the tail, and longer ears
especially : donkey
informal : a stupid or stubborn person

More from Merriam-Webster on ass

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