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-Actually, as a Brit I a can say that to many (most?) brits - certainly here in the midlands - "arse" is considered to be quite rude and certainly you would get a few disapproving looks if loudly vocalised in public. Also, we may not pronounce the "r" in "arse" but we lengthen the "a" to compensate - it makes sense to us, since we also tend to do this in many of our words. Recently on, tv especially, there has been a tendency to use "ass" instead of "arse" as this is not considered to be as offensive by the general public. Seems a bit of a silly distinction to make, really.-- 22:46, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)

-Wierd thing in America is that "ass" is the taboo way of saying it and "arse" is considered more appro.


Don't forget that Americans call their "asses" their "fannies" if they are being polite :-) SmUX 19:49, 11 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Fanny" tends to be a nursery term (though not exclusively). I would say "butt" would be more usual. Kostaki mou (talk) 21:33, 1 October 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agreed - although it's become more acceptable in polite speech, there's no way you'd use it in a formal situation or in front of your kids or grandmother. We'd almost always use "bum" instead. I'll amend appropriately.

-As an american I can say: "Arse" is almost never used in the United States. In fact, Most americans (until they here it spelled) simply think that Brits say the word 'Ass' with extended vowels. Arse is neither appropriate, nor inapropriate....most americans would simply think you made it up (except internet-junkies, and tourists).

_As a Canadian I'd point out that Arse still receives common use in the Maritime Provinces, namely Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island. Its use is declining in modern times, but would be easily/quickly recognized by older generations across Canada.


The former similarity of the words is caught in the following verse:

There was a young girl from Madras
Who had quite a wonderful ass.
Not rounded and pink,
as you possibly think,
it was grey, had long ears, and ate grass!
Still works fine if you're a northern Englishman who pronounces Madras and grass with short As! 01:23, 15 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, if it was going to be correct for England, it'd be "grarse". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:13, 3 June 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Nope, I (and most others from the South of England) would pronounce 'grass' in the way anyway. Tim (Xevious) (talk) 18:46, 12 June 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Double Talking[edit]

Somometimes,People may say 'I'm gonna kick your bloody arse!"For "I'm gonna kick your fuckin ass!".odd. -Z.Spy 4 October 2005

In what sense is the former for the latter? (I suspect that the British version is meant more literally.) Grant 23:25, 14 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Arse is commonly used in Australia, example "Git off your arse!" JayKeaton 13:26, 7 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, Australian English seems to have many similarities with British/Commonwealth English, not surprising. 惑乱 分からん 02:22, 15 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What about the american term big-ass? Maybe that's too american and big-arse wouldn't work that way. 惑乱 分からん 02:22, 15 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ass offensive in UK?[edit]

Not too sure about this. I think anyone I would speak to would consider "ass" = "donkey" = "fool" over here (unless there was context to indicate otherwise), certainly in any expression "Stop being an ass"/"Stop acting like an ass". I would be quite happy to use the expression in polite society (but I'd say it with a smile). Even Enid Blyton (to 1960s) uses it (Famous Five - cant recall where, but I'm certain its in there - Susan to Julian, perhaps?), so if there is any coarse "ass" = "anus" association in such a phrase, it certainly didn't first occur in that context during the Victorian period in the UK, otherwise she would not have used it for her children's books a century later; I expect its a US usage imported via film? Tobermory 09:41, 26 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Modern semantics: ass[edit]

Not sure what the third bullet point – a) idiot, b) asshole, etc. – is doing in an article about the word 'arse'. In British English, the word 'ass' would not be used to mean buttocks except as a euphemism, i.e. a less offensive word standing for the real word, 'arse'. Generally, a cod American accent would be employed in this case. I would be very interested to see any example where "people in Britain have adopted the American version in writing" (as alleged in the previous bullet point) other than in a purely (pseudo-)American context. An Englishman who was too polite to say 'arse' would say 'bum' or 'bottom'.

The second bullet point claims (contrary to all sources I have seen) that 'ass' for 'arse' was a British innovation. If so, it must have died out very quickly; as mentioned elsewhere, in Britain it was perfectly acceptable to call someone a 'silly ass' in polite society (and books for young children) without the slightest concern that it might be misconstrued as a reference to a body part – right up to the 1960s (or even 1970s).

Back to the third bullet point: Either 'ass' for 'arse' came about independently of 'ass' meaning 'donkey' (in which case, why refer to the donkey-derived senses at all in an article about 'arse'?) or it is itself derived from it (in which case, it is ultimately a euphemism even in the US – so why revert 'euphemistic' to 'literal'?).

I'm minded to revise these two bullet points. Any thoughts on the matter? Grant 23:25, 14 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I would't find it strange if the -rs- turning -ss- sound shift emerged first in Britain and later was carried over to the USA. 惑乱 分からん 23:06, 11 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Americans seem to have hijacked the article - its supposed to be about arses, no-one says ass in Britain. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:09, 9 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


does that photo have any relevancy to the word "arse" specifically? i don't see how it does. Joeyramoney 22:38, 19 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's of an arse, I suppose. I considered reverting it when it was added but ultimately didn't. It probably should go since it relates to the concept, rather than the word as discussed in this article. --Cherry blossom tree 22:54, 19 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yeah. Pictures should go only in the buttocks article, not here. Voortle 00:16, 21 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The following discussion is an archived debate of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the debate was Do Not Move. —Wknight94 (talk) 19:24, 27 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Proposed move[edit]

arse to ass and arse. The article should be at this title (or at arse and ass) because it discusses both words, not just one, similar to the shall and will article, which is not at either will or shall. Voortle 00:20, 21 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  • Oppose. I agree there is a problem, but disagree with the proposed solution. The most common name used to reference the subject of the article is ass, but that is (rightfully) a disambiguation page. So I would support Arse -> Ass (arse), which specifies the most common name (ass), and disambiguates with the British term (arse). --Serge 08:19, 21 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose. The analogy to shall and will doesn't work because they are different words with subtly different meanings and the article discusses these differences. Ass and arse are just regional variants of each other - the article discusses their shared etymology and usage. I'm also not sure what benefit moving it to ass (arse) would have. It's a more complex title and it breaks the disambiguation convention of using term (description) to use term (synonym), both of which make it more difficult to guess at the title of the article. On top of that, it is basically moving from one form of English to another, which is not done. --Cherry blossom tree 10:05, 21 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose. Since ass is absolutely not synonymous with arse, but the etymology-semantics constitute quite a complex word history, each needs a page of its own Fastifex 11:29, 21 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose. As per above. --Asteriontalk 17:25, 23 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.


Why is this article called arse, but asshole is called asshole and not arsehole? --Macarion 03:18, 22 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In England we use the word arse. We call people arseholes. We say 'you are making an arse of youself'. In america (for whatever reason, this isn't a language debate) you replace every arse with ass. They are language differences only. In my experience and an Englishman, here in England the word ass is rarely used except for the following circumstances:
  • Jackass: i.e. the television show and film. This is mispronounced jackarse by some people but is should be kept as jackass because the ass here doesn't refer to... well... an arse.
  • Americanisms: when either making fun of Americans or mimicking americans, one might say ass instead of arse.
Also, Jackass and ass are totally different in the US. What we in the UK consider an ass to be (the donkey derivative) is what the US call a Jackass...that's why we still call the show "Jackass" SmUX 19:30, 3 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

(Mawkish1983 14:03, 16 April 2007 (UTC))Reply[reply]

Because there is something else already at ass. -- Beardo 02:05, 27 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You can just taste the ignorance. (unsigned)

The word "arsehole" is used, I can guarantee the user Macarion who posted it is from the US and showing usual US blind ignorance of other countries and cultures...just because the US doesn't use the word "arsehole" doesn't mean it isn't used...I fired up google ( and searched..."Results 1 - 10 of about 546,000 for arsehole"...546k results, and it's not a used word? SmUX 19:30, 3 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I can guarantee that the user SumUX is from the UK, is showing usual UK arrogance and is holding the typical UK idea that British English is superior to the English of other countries and cultures. See, we can all make comments about ridiculous cultural stereotypes, but that just makes people angry and does not help contribute to Wikipedia. So Macarion was wrong about the word "arsehole." That's no reason to insult Americans and use stupid stereotypes. Don't be an asshole, Americans are no more ignorant about other cultures than the British, and you're just perpetuating the stereotype that all English people are pompous arseholes who think they're better than their brethren across the pond. I am aware that is is poorly written and slightly hypocritical, but I think I get my point across.

Isn't this really a dictionary entry?[edit]

I'm not clear why this entry is here at all. It seems to me to be all about the word, its usages and definitions, not about the thing itself. Woblosch 11:18, 19 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, it may be too fine a point, but words are "things" just like bath plugs, WW11, Neptune and Nestorianism, and a comprehensive dictionary is nothing more than a specialised encyclopedia of language matters. OTOH, if your dictionary does not extend to historical and regional treatments of a word, and there is sufficient public interest in such matters in the case of a specific word, then it belongs in Wikipedia quite naturally. Myles325a 04:06, 12 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, for one it doesn't even include a definition for the word. Herbys 04:29, 19 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Article needs clarification[edit]

This article needs some work in that the concepts of "words" and "terms" are confused with each other throughout.

First, there should be an introductory note explaining that there are two separate terms that share the same word “ass”: buttocks; and "ass": donkey; and that these are not etymologically related by derivation from the beginning, although each of the two words has had a historical influence on the other.

Second, regional variations in the pronunciation of “arse” are complex, and some attempt should be made to define them succinctly. In Britain, and most of the Commonwealth (certainly in Australia) it is said so as to rhyme with “farce”, whereas in the United States it rhymes with “gas”. (Although I believe that Northern parts of Britain still continue to pronounce words like past, last, grass etc the way the Americans do, that is, rhyming with “gas”. I’ll make a few clarifications, but I’ll need some help here. Myles325a 04:18, 12 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well as someone from the northern half (pronounced haff) of Britain i can confirm that i too pronounce grass, last and pass with a short 'a' sound, however as Arse has an 'R' in it, it does not rhyme with grass or pass. (talk) 14:14, 27 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Canadian English mis-characterized[edit]

The term "arse" is quite common in Canada along with its variant, "arse-hole". This word is used more than the more American "ass" in some regions in Canada, the Atlantic provinces in particular. Some regions favour one term, others favour the others, and many use them interchangably depending on the desired humorous effect.

Irish Usage[edit]

I have heard both "ass" and "arse" in Ireland (from Irish). "Ass" is used in John B. Keane's play The Chastitute, for example (at least, in the production I saw in Dublin). (Of course, one or two Irish have lived in the States.) Kostaki mou (talk) 02:35, 11 June 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ass in the Commonwealth[edit]

I know quite a few (mainly younger) Commonwealth English speakers who use 'ass' instead of 'arse', they mostly attribute it to American influence but it's certainly preferred. I doubt this is limited to the people *I* know. -MichiganCharms 20:08, 7 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is also somewhat prevalent in the UK, however i would say it is mostly a passing phase that kids grow out of, i can distinctly remember using this word instead of arse when i was a teenager mostly because i thought Eminem and Limp Bizkit were cool, and ofcourse because my mates used it. And can safely say however that upon maturing that all my friends (and myself) have thankfully reverted to using arse. Gazh 20:28, 15 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I fail to see why one usage should be regarded as more or less mature than the other. It is only natural that speakers of different varieties of a language should be influenced by each other--often in ways they are not aware of. They are not hermetically sealed from one another. Kostaki mou (talk) 21:25, 1 October 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
One term itself is no more mature than than the other, but it's usage is out of place and is/was often used because it was prevelant on cool American TV shows or music, there is a massive growing awareness within the youth of Britain that the American media outlets are/were having a huge influence on the youth here and as a result a reverse of this trend is seemingly in motion. When i say ass, i usually say it in a broad American accent, when i say arse, i say it in my own accent. It's as much as a nod to being British and different from Americans than anything else. Gazh (talk) 09:56, 23 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If you want to purge your speech of Americanisms, you'd have to do an awful lot more than using "arse" instead of "ass." American influence on English speech (and vice versa) has been going on for a long time. There are countless American usages current in England whose origins most English people are no longer conscious of. Of course, some "Americanisms" are only usages that had remained in use in the States after they became obsolete in England ("gotten" being an example). —Preceding unsigned comment added by Kostaki mou (talkcontribs) 22:01, 23 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hmm, Americanisms of old are a part of our speech though - so we wouldn't be as concerned over them, though i'd doubt there are many true Americanisms that have not remained in England without dying out, gotten has always been used in the region i'm from as have many many obselete words, pronunciations and grammatical errors that no longer exists in the US and indeed a good 90% of England. Ass remains a blantant Americanism though and only kids or people impersonating an American would use it. Gazh (talk) 11:23, 24 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A tag has been placed on Arse, requesting that it be speedily deleted from Wikipedia. This has been done under the criteria for speedy deletion, because the article seems to be blatant advertising which only promotes a company, product, group, service or person and would need to be fundamentally rewritten in order to become an encyclopedia article. Please read the general criteria for speedy deletion, particularly item 11, as well as the guidelines on spam.

If you can indicate why the subject of this article is not blatant advertising, you may contest the tagging. To do this, please add {{hangon}} on the top of the article and leave a note on the article's talk page explaining your position. Please do not remove the speedy deletion tag yourself, but don't hesitate to add information to the article that would help make it encyclopedic, as well as adding any citations from reliable sources to ensure that the article will be verifiable. Feel free to leave a note on my talk page if you have any questions about this. 02:09, 17 October 2007 (UTC) Game Suspect to be SpamReply[reply]

problems in "Modern semantics"[edit]

Apparently the pronunciation "ass" instead of "arse" is not a euphemism due to US prudishness, as a common urban legend claims. It in fact developed before the existence of the American colonies and is part of a linguistic process that can be observed in many other words too (e.g. burst/bust, curse/cuss, horse/hoss, barse/bass). The main cause seems to have been the arrival of non-rhotic pronunciation that made "arse" sound like "ass". Some of these changes happened as early as in late Middle English, when barse became bass, for example. "Bust" in the sense and pronunciation derived from "burst" was specifically a US invention, which happened in the mid 18th century (New Oxford), so it seems that r dropping was pretty normal in US English at the time. I always thought r dropping was a UK specialty and never happened in the American colonies, so I'll have to look for info about when that development stopped and reversed in the US since Rhotic and non-rhotic accents provides no info on this.

It would seem that it's pretty important that "arse" was rarely seen and mostly heard. This could perhaps explain why the apparent reversal of r dropping that happened in the US in other words didn't affect a word that sounded like it didn't have an r (anymore).

The euphemism related to ass/arse is elsewhere, in the use of "donkey" instead of "ass", but this seems to have been a mostly or entirely British development predating the existence or the linguistic independence of the American colonies. Since "ass" had already been replaced by "donkey" for a long time in English, US Americans could use it to unequivocally refer to the pejorative senses of donkey and buttocks.

Both this WP article and the etymology dictionary in the references have some illogical statements that are apparently simple confusions and sloppiness:

1) The dictionary says "ass (2) ...from Amer.Eng. pronunciation of arse", but that makes no sense, since r dropping was no doubt not more common in the American colonies than in the UK.

2) Instead of

"Although before World War I they were similar, the English pronunciations of "ass" /æs/ and "arse" /ɑːs/ are now quite different apart from in American English speaking countries, although arse is commonly used in Atlantic Canada, west of the Ottawa river, ass is more idiomatic."

is this what is meant?:

Although before World War I they were similar, the British English pronunciations of "ass" /æs/ and "arse" /ɑːs/ are now quite different. In American English, they were also pronounced quite similarly in the past when non-rhotic pronunciation ("r dropping") was more common. Since "ass" was replaced by "donkey" (in both UK and US English), it became possible for US Americans to use "ass" only for the pejorative meanings of both words. Although "arse" is commonly used in Atlantic Canada, "ass" is more idiomatic west of the Ottawa river. --Espoo 14:30, 20 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I can's find any supporting reference for the inclusion if this term. If anyone can, please list it rather than simply inserting it again. Thanks. --Cherry blossom tree 22:11, 1 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


"which meaning ass" Apart from the poor English here, the wikilink on 'ass' is to a disambiguation page. (talk) 01:16, 28 December 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

My redirection of this page to Arse (disambiguation) was reverted with a request for discussion. This article is nothing more than a dictionary entry, containing definition, etymology, and usage notes. There is nothing encyclopedic here that isn't already covered in Buttocks#Synonyms. Note that we do not have an article for the American equivalent, "Ass" (it's a disambiguation page). Powers T 18:26, 30 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Use in Canada[edit]