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ass

1 [as]
noun
1.
a long-eared, slow, patient, sure-footed domesticated mammal, Equus asinus, related to the horse, used chiefly as a beast of burden.
2.
any wild species of the genus Equus, as the onager.
3.
a stupid, foolish, or stubborn person.

Origin:
before 1000; Middle English asse, Old English assa, probably hypocoristic form based on Old Irish asan < Latin asinus; akin to Greek ónos ass

asslike, adjective
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Collins
World English Dictionary
ass1 (æs)
 
n
1.  either of two perissodactyl mammals of the horse family (Equidae), Equus asinus (African wild ass) or E. hemionus (Asiatic wild ass). They are hardy and sure-footed, having longer ears than the horseRelated: asinine
2.  (not in technical use) the domesticated variety of the African wild ass; donkey
3.  a foolish or ridiculously pompous person
4.  informal (Irish) not within an ass's roar of not close to obtaining, winning, etc: she wasn't within an ass's roar of it
 
Related: asinine
 
[Old English assa, probably from Old Irish asan, from Latin asinus; related to Greek onos ass]

ass2 (æs)
 
n
1.  slang chiefly (US), (Canadian) the buttocks
2.  slang chiefly (US), (Canadian) the anus
3.  offensive, slang chiefly (US), (Canadian) sexual intercourse or a woman considered sexually (esp in the phrase piece of ass)
4.  slang chiefly (US), (Canadian) cover one's ass to take such action as one considers necessary to avoid censure, ridicule, etc at a later time
 
[Old English ærs; see arse]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

ass
beast of burden, O.E. assa (Old Northumbrian assal, assald), prob. from O.Celt. *as(s)in "donkey," which (with Ger. esel, Goth. asilus, Lith. asilas, O.C.S. osl) is ultimately from L. asinus, probably of Middle Eastern origin (cf. Sumerian ansu). Since ancient Gk. times, in fables and parables, the animal
typifies clumsiness and stupidity (hence asshead, 1540s, etc.). To make an ass of oneself is from 1580s. Asses' Bridge (c.1780), from L. Pons Asinorum, is fifth proposition of first book of Euclid's "Elements."

ass
slang for "backside," first attested 1860 in nautical slang, in popular use from 1930; chiefly U.S.; from dial. variant pronunciation of arse (q.v.). The loss of -r- before -s- attested in several other words (e.g. burst/bust, curse/cuss, horse/hoss, barse/bass). Indirect evidence
of the change from arse to ass can be traced to 1785 (in euphemistic avoidance of ass "donkey" by polite speakers) and perhaps to Shakespeare, if Nick Bottom transformed into a donkey in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (1594) is the word-play some think it is. Meaning "woman regarded as a sexual object" is from 1942.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Easton
Bible Dictionary

Ass definition


frequently mentioned throughout Scripture. Of the domesticated species we read of, (1.) The she ass (Heb. 'athon), so named from its slowness (Gen. 12:16; 45:23; Num. 22:23; 1 Sam. 9:3). (2.) The male ass (Heb. hamor), the common working ass of Western Asia, so called from its red colour. Issachar is compared to a strong ass (Gen. 49:14). It was forbidden to yoke together an ass and an ox in the plough (Deut. 22:10). (3.) The ass's colt (Heb. 'air), mentioned Judg. 10:4; 12:14. It is rendered "foal" in Gen. 32:15; 49:11. (Comp. Job 11:12; Isa. 30:6.) The ass is an unclean animal, because it does not chew the cud (Lev. 11:26. Comp. 2 Kings 6:25). Asses constituted a considerable portion of wealth in ancient times (Gen. 12:16; 30:43; 1 Chr. 27:30; Job 1:3; 42:12). They were noted for their spirit and their attachment to their master (Isa. 1:3). They are frequently spoken of as having been ridden upon, as by Abraham (Gen. 22:3), Balaam (Num. 22:21), the disobedient prophet (1 Kings 13:23), the family of Abdon the judge, seventy in number (Judg. 12:14), Zipporah (Ex. 4:20), the Shunammite (1 Sam. 25:30), etc. Zechariah (9:9) predicted our Lord's triumphal entrance into Jerusalem, "riding upon an ass, and upon a colt," etc. (Matt. 21:5, R.V.). Of wild asses two species are noticed, (1) that called in Hebrew _'arod_, mentioned Job 39:5 and Dan. 5:21, noted for its swiftness; and (2) that called _pe're_, the wild ass of Asia (Job 39:6-8; 6:5; 11:12; Isa. 32:14; Jer. 2:24; 14:6, etc.). The wild ass was distinguished for its fleetness and its extreme shyness. In allusion to his mode of life, Ishmael is likened to a wild ass (Gen. 16:12. Here the word is simply rendered "wild" in the Authorized Version, but in the Revised Version, "wild-ass among men").

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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