A metric buttload of OED additions

The quarterly update of the Oxford English Dictionary is always an occasion for rejoicing among hardcore lexicography buffs. The latest update is an even bigger bumper crop than usual, with a whopping 1,400 new words, senses, and subentries online. If you skim through the public list, you’ll see that a very large number have to do with the words arseassbum, and butt, including related phrases and compounds. You might even say there’s a metric buttload of such additions. (Buttload, by the way, was already added to the OED back in June 2009, citing examples going back to 1988 — none of the metric variety, unfortunately.)

The easiest additions to identify are those that have merited brand-new entries. Here are the new posterior-related headwords, with definitions and dates of first known use:

arse-kisser, n. A person who flatters another excessively or insincerely, esp. with the aim of gaining favour or advancement. (1766)
arse-kissing, n. Excessive or insincere flattery, esp. when intended to gain favour or advancement. (1937)
arseways, adv. 1. With reference to sexual intercourse: from behind. (1909) 2. The wrong way round. (1938)

ass-end, n. 1. The rear end, the hindmost part. (1934) 2. The less or least desirable part of something. (c1947) 3. The most remote or least attractive part of a specified region. (1960)
ass-fuck, n. An act of anal sex. (1941)
ass-fuck, v. To have anal sex with. (1971)
ass-kicker, n. 1. A physically aggressive, violent, or intimidating person. (1962) 2. A person who or thing which is remarkably successful or effective. (1971) 3. A particularly challenging situation, problem, etc. (1973)
ass-kicking, n. A physical beating or assault; a severe defeat, reprimand, or humiliation. (1943)
ass-kicking, adj. Forceful, aggressive. (1977)
assless, adj. 1. Lacking buttocks, esp. prominent ones. (1965) 2. Of clothing: designed to expose the buttocks. (1984)
ass-licking, n. 1. Oral stimulation of the anus by a sexual partner. (1923) 2. The action of currying favour or ingratiating oneself. (1946)
ass-licking, adj. That flatters excessively or insincerely, esp. with the aim of gaining favour or advancement. (1940)

bum crack, n. 1. An act of breaking wind. (1604) 2. The cleft between the buttocks. (1980)
bumfuck, n. 1. An act of anal sex. Also (derogatory): a homosexual man. (1879) 2. A name given to a fictitious place characterized as remote, rural, isolated, or boring. (1972)
bum-fuck, v. To have anal sex with (a person). (1899)
bum-shuffle, v. To move by inching or shuffling along while in a sitting position. (1986)

butt-face, n. A term of abuse for: an unattractive, annoying, or contemptible person. (1984)
butt-faced, adj. Unattractive; stupid; annoying, contemptible. (1973)
butt-headed, adj. Intractable in one’s opinions or attitude. (1855)
butthole, n.2 1. The anus. (a1960) 2. A stupid, irritating, or contemptible person. (1962)
butthurt, adj. Overly or unjustifiably offended or resentful. (1966)
butt-kicking, n. A beating; a decisive or humiliating defeat; a severe reprimand. (1970)
butt-kicking, adj. Aggressive, violent, tough; strong, powerful. (1973)
buttmunch, n. A stupid, obnoxious, or contemptible person. (1993)

Beyond these new headwords are additions that have been added under the main entries of arseassbum, and butt, including compounds and phrases. The public list doesn’t specify these, though in her notes on the update, Oxford’s head of US dictionaries Katherine Martin singles out two additions to the ass entry: assclown and asshat. Assclown, Katherine points out, is first attested in the 1999 film Office Space written and directed by Mike Judge, who was also responsible for popularizing another new OED word: idiocracy, thanks to his 2006 film with that title. (John Kelly covered assclown on Strong Language in a 2016 post, and Nancy Friedman wrote about asshat last year.)

Katherine was kind enough to provide me with a list of all the new subentries in the arse/ass/bum/butt family. Here they are, from arse cheek to butt dialing.

arse cheek: a buttock. (1865)
arse crack: the cleft between the buttocks. (1969)
arse-face: (a term of abuse for) an unattractive or hated person. (1929)
arse upwards: upside down, topsy-turvy. (1896)
to stick/shove (something) up your/his/her arse (1735)
arse for elbow: (in a manner) contrary to what is usual, expected, or logical. (1953)
to get (up) off one’s arse: to get going; to begin a course of action; to stop procrastinating or being lazy. (1960)
to move/shift) (one’s) arse: to get going, get a move on; to get out of the way. (1973)
out on one’s arse: ejected or dismissed from a job, post, etc. (1965)
to make an arse of (someone): to cause (someone) to appear absurd or foolish. (1967)
to make an arse of oneself: to behave in a way which makes one appear absurd or foolish. (1968)
to make an arse of (something): to mess (something) up. (1974)
to die on one’s arse: to fail badly. (1984)

ass-bandit: (a) a man who actively seeks women for casual sex (1955); (b) (derogatory and offensive) a homosexual man. (1979)
ass cheek: a buttock. (1951)
ass chewing: a severe reprimand, esp. as given by a person in a superior position. (1955)
assclown: a stupid or contemptible person. (1999)
ass crack: the cleft between the buttocks. (1969)
asshat: a stupid or contemptible person. (2002)
ass-whipping: a severe beating; (also, in a contest) a decisive defeat. (1825)
to stick/shove (something) up your/his/her ass (1895)
my ass: expressing dismissive or incredulous contradiction. (1923)
blow it out your ass (1944)
not to know one’s ass from one’s elbow (and variants): to be very stupid or ignorant. (1862)
up to one’s ass in: inundated or involved deeply or to the limit with (something). (1946)
up to one’s ass: to a great degree or extent; very much. (1974)
on one’s ass: in acute (financial) hardship; with nothing; ruined; broke. (?1917)
to drag ass (1940)
to move/shift (one’s) ass (1961)
you bet your ass (and variants): expressing certainty or assurance that something is the case or will happen. (1928)
to get (up) off one’s ass: to begin moving or commence a course of action; to stop procrastinating or being lazy. (1940)
to be/get on a person’s ass: to put a person under constant pressure to do something; to criticize or harass someone continually. (1943)
to burn/chap a person’s ass: to make a person annoyed or angry. (1944)
out on one’s ass: abruptly expelled, rejected, or dismissed. (1947)
your/his/her ass is grass: the person indicated is in a vulnerable position, and failure to fulfil an obligation, comply with specified conditions, etc., will bring severe consequences. (1960)
up the ass: to a great or excessive extent or degree. (1963)
to have a stick up one’s ass: (1) to be extremely rigid or conventional; to be inflexible, strict, or strait-laced. (1967); (2) to have a persistent grievance with or negative obsession about something; to be angry or in a bad mood. (1990)
out the ass: to a great or excessive degree. (1972)
to disappear/vanish up one’s own ass: to be over-engaged with oneself or one’s own concerns, affairs, or work. (1973)
to be up one’s own ass and variants: to be self-involved, pretentious, or conceited. (1997)
to pull (something) out of one’s ass: to come up with (something) without forethought or preparation, to improvise. (1979)
like ass: (1) to a great degree or extent; very much. (1985); (2) very bad or badly; awful, horrible. (1986)

bum bag: (a) trousers or shorts. (1860); (b) a small bag or pouch incorporated in a belt worn round the waist or across the shoulder. (1951)
bum bandit: a homosexual man. (1972)
bum-brushing: the action or practice of administering a beating on the bottom. (1700)
bum cheek: a buttock. (c1890)
bum chum: a homosexual man, esp. one viewed as the partner of another. (1972)
bum-face: (a name for) an unattractive, despicable, or hated person. (1919)
bum-numbing: (a) requiring a person to sit for a long period of time. (1973); (b) (of seating) hard or otherwise uncomfortable to sit on. (1979)
bum sex: anal sex. (1993)
bums in seats: paying customers collectively. (1978)
stick/shove it up your bum: expressing contemptuous dismissal or rejection. (1987)

butt boy: an obsequious or servile individual; a sycophant. (1948)
butt call: an inadvertent call made on a mobile phone in one’s rear trouser pocket. (2003)
butt dialv. to inadvertently call (someone) on a mobile phone in one’s rear trouser pocket. (2005); n. an inadvertent call made on a mobile phone in one’s rear trouser pocket. (2008)
butt dialing: the action of inadvertently placing a call on a mobile phone in one’s rear trouser pocket. (2007)

Whew! And that doesn’t even exhaust all of the arse/ass/bum/butt changes, since there are more that have been made to other preexisting headwords. For example, asswipe already had been added in a previous update, meaning “a foolish or contemptible person” or “toilet paper.” (As I noted in an interview in this 2013 article for The Atlantic, the “contemptible person” meaning dates back to 1953 in Saul Bellow’s novel The Adventures of Augie March: “You little asswipe hoodlum!”) But the latest update adds another sense of asswipe: “nonsense, rubbish,” dating to 1947. (The British equivalent, arsewipe, dates all the way back to 1677 in the sense of “anything used to wipe oneself clean after defecation.”)

Despite this voluminous lexical expansion, there are countless more related items that the OED has yet to document. For instance, the entries for ass crack and butt crack say nothing about ass/butt crack of dawn as an intensified version of the phrase crack of dawn (discussed on Language Log in 2005). The vocabulary of the bottom, ironically enough, knows no bottom.

2 thoughts on “A metric buttload of OED additions

  1. Paul Brians October 6, 2018 / 12:56 pm

    People in Washington refer to WSU as Wazoo, which I’ve always found annoying, being a professor there for 40 years. Inevitably reminds one of expressions like “up the wazoo.”


  2. Patrick Collins October 10, 2018 / 6:25 pm

    A buttload would only be half a tun, if they are barrels.


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