asshat

noun

ass·​hat ˈas-ˌhat How to pronounce asshat (audio)
plural asshats
vulgar slang
: a stupid, annoying, or detestable person : asshole

Word History

Etymology

ass entry 2 + hat entry 1

Note: The seemingly nonsensical linking of ass and hat has a curious prehistory. Examples of the linkage can be found in dialogue lines from late-twentieth-century films: "Anyone found bipedal in five wears his ass for a hat!" (addressed to the employees of a bank as the robbers leave, Raising Arizona, 1987, script by Ethan and Joel Coen); "I like your ass. Can I wear it as a hat?" (a character's parody of a flirtatious advance, City Slickers, 1991, script by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel). Of more immediate etymological relevance may be this dialogue sequence from the television series That '70's Show: "RED: Eric, if you don't want to wear your ass for a hat, you'll get up here, pronto! DONNA: You better go. You know how that ass-hat screws up your hair" ("Red Fired Up," Episode 24 of Season 2, script by Dave Schiff, first aired May 8, 2000). The current meaning of asshat may be a reanalysis, perhaps in part based on the expression "have one's head up one's ass" (meaning "to be obtuse, be insufficiently conscious of one's surroundings"), perhaps in part due to simple phonetic similarity to asshole.

First Known Use

1999, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of asshat was in 1999

Dictionary Entries Near asshat

Cite this Entry

“Asshat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/asshat. Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

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