When did “-ass” enter our lexicon?
We can all think of a few bad-ass movie heroes or villains. And we all know a smart-ass when we see one. I supposed smart-ass came out smart-alack, so that may be the first incidence of what I call “Hyphen Ass Syndrome.”
Some people might bemoan the dumbing down of American culture and complain that we just don’t have the vocabulary previous generations enjoyed. Some might see it as evidence how inured we have become to swearing. We all know people who can string together slightly coherent sentences prominently featuring the F-word…
Its weird how “-ass” has grown in popularity. I was in a store a while back when I heard the twenty-something clerk chat with the slightly older clerk about something in TV the previous night:
“Did you watch (whatever it was)?” She asked.
“Aww, you missed a good-ass (program.)”
“Good-ass”? Hmm. Is that the opposite of bad-ass? That got me thinking: what other kinds of Hyphenated Posteriors have I head of? Besides the aforementioned, there are…
So that young clerk could have described the episode like this: ” So this bad-ass was following this dumb-ass through some weird-ass building…”
I love the English language. It’s so kick-ass!