\ˈsas \

Definition of sass 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 informal

a : impudent speech : back talk She takes no sass from her students.

b : bold rudeness or impertinence especially when considered playful, appealing, or courageous It is all dished out by combat-ready waitresses whose borscht belt sass lends extra spice to the meal.— Jane and Michael Stern … Ferraro showed off her sass. She critiqued President Reagan by name with a series of crowd pleasing one-liners.— Kathy Kiely

2 informal : an appealingly exciting, lively, or spirited quality …Mick Jagger's recent solo may be high on style and sass, but it's tough to beat Talk Is Cheap for real primitive cool.— David Fricke As they have for a decade, the international wealthy favor New York City for its comparative safety and social sass.— J. D. Reed Like a vintage jazz tune, fine Scotch delivers smooth flavor and sass.— Audarshia Townsend


sassed; sassing; sasses

Definition of sass (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to talk impudently or disrespectfully to

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Examples of sass in a Sentence


an old-fashioned diner where getting sass from the waitstaff is part of the experience


He got drunk and sassed a cop.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

All those around him shine, with Ashley Bouder, Georgina Pazcoguin and Ms. Mearns tearing through the action with class and sass. Robert Greskovic, WSJ, "Personnel Changes and Premieres," 9 Oct. 2018 Hip-swiveling sass is important from the start, but then come the complicated posture, partner work and turns. Nicole Tsong, The Seattle Times, "There’s a lot to remember when you’re learning bachata — do not forget the flair!," 29 July 2018 The Bar Harbor native had said that sass was her key to a long life. Globe Staff,, "New England news in brief," 9 May 2018 While these arbiters of design work fiercely to create dream homes, there’s never a shortage of hilarity, sass, and an unpretentious playfulness that fuels their relationships with the homeowners and each other. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "The Original 'Queer Eye' Stars Reunite For TV's Most Stylish Home Makeover Show," 19 Oct. 2018 John McCain also might have inherited his mother's sass, wit and rebellious streak. Amy Lieu, Fox News, "John McCain's 'spunky' 106-year-old mother to attend his services," 30 Aug. 2018 Full of zip and Southern sass, the film never shied away from these resilient women—despite their treacherous deeds. Alexandra Gekas, Woman's Day, "12 Best Movies Based on Books," 2 Aug. 2010 Taylor Swift is finally back at an awards show — and serving up some serious sass. Time, "Taylor Swift Had a Great Reaction to Kelly Clarkson Singing 'Look What You Made Me Do' at the Billboard Music Awards," 21 May 2018 Some had signs or T-shirts with messages of tolerance or sass, including one of President Vladimir Putin of Russia holding a rainbow. Vanessa Gera,, "Gay pride parade turnout defies conservative trend in Europe," 9 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Here, Prince Harry was captured sassing photographers while getting out of a car to visit the hospital after his cousin, Princess Beatrice of York, was born in 1988. Lyndsey Matthews, Town & Country, "Princess Charlotte Channeled Prince Harry at the Royal Wedding," 19 May 2018 Although Archie’s a little shaking at the start of this number (think Zac Efron at the beginning of High School Musical), Betty takes over and uses it as an opportunity to apologize to Veronica after publicly sassing her a few minutes prior. Gianluca Russo, Teen Vogue, "The "Riverdale" Musical Numbers, Ranked," 19 Apr. 2018 An entertaining Twitter account, in which Daniels often and humorously sassed back at the name callers, recently went private. Jean Marbella,, "A Stormy front is coming: Trump might try to silence Daniels, but she'll bare all in Baltimore," 19 Apr. 2018 Lewis also sassed and snarled at critics and interviewers who displeased him. Lindsey Bahr, Esquire, "Jerry Lewis, Comedy Legend and Tireless Telethon Host, Dies at 91," 20 Aug. 2017 Things like negging bosses, sassing bartenders, writing off-the-rails emotional emails to men who didn’t care about me—these used to be core parts of my personality. Meaghan O'connell, Longreads, "Girl Wonder," 20 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sass.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of sass


1835, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1856, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sass


alteration of sauce entry 1

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Statistics for sass

Last Updated

30 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sass

The first known use of sass was in 1835

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More Definitions for sass



English Language Learners Definition of sass

: to talk to (someone) in a rude way that does not show proper respect


\ˈsas \

Kids Definition of sass

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a rude or disrespectful reply


sassed; sassing

Kids Definition of sass (Entry 2 of 2)

: to speak to in a rude or disrespectful way

More from Merriam-Webster on sass

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sass

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sass

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having a pattern of small flowers

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