Wednesday 10 June 2009

Two nations divided by a common language...

I am reliably informed by some of my American friends that there is a difference in meaning, in our respective countries, in the use of the word "ass".

I have used the Oxford English Dictionary meaning which defines the term in the following manner:


(noun) 1 a donkey or similar horse-like animal with long ears and a braying call. 2 (informal) a foolish or stupid person.

Apparently, this is not the common meaning in America where it refers to that part of the anatomy upon which one sits. British people use a different expression.

Thus to refer to a "dumb ass" is not, as in Britain, to refer to a "foolish or stupid person" likened to a dumb donkey but, rather, in America, is cruder and ruder.

I hope this clarifies matters for those who may have misunderstood.

There may be some truth in the old adage that we are two nations divided by a common language.

PS. Moreover, it is not much of an insult in English (e.g. "Oh, you are such an ass, Charles!") since donkeys may be dumb and stubborn but they are still likeable and friendly. Moreover, they were chosen by God who rode into Jerusalem on one. You will notice that donkeys all have the Sign of the Cross upon their backs (see picture). All in all, then, not too bad as insults go...and rather different from the American meaning!



Anonymous said...

Keep throwing stones at the U.S. wiseacre, we'll have no welcome mat waiting for you and yours when the muzzies take over. Your reptilian ancestors tricked us open-hearted Yanks to spill our blood in 2 World Wars for save your Empire of Greed, and the throne of your silly heretic queen. I wouldn't spill a drop of American Sweat for the UK, never mind blood! Never again, you're on you're own...

P.S. I live in NYC, I see Brits all the time, and they are the most grotesque pack of slack-jawed louts in have ever seen. Positively classless alcoholic monkeys. Modern-day Angles make our Appalachian hill folk look downright aristocratic!

Unknown said...

Well said.

Tribunus said...

Thanks, Mark.

Anonymous is back and I need add nothing to his ungracious talk. He makes my point for me - and demonstrates the ugliness of a particular type of Yankee bigot far better than by anything I might add.

"Open-hearted" he ain't! Close-minded, more like...

Unknown said...

Just a point of clarification, my comment 'Well said' (above), was in response to the original post, not to the comment by 'Anonymous'.

The comments of 'Anonymous' are a little humorous, however crude they may be, but it is not fair to say we were 'tricked' by the British, when in fact Roosevelt had been doing his best to get us into the war for years. Read "The New Dealer's War: FDR and the War Within the War" for some insight into this. It may be appropriate to say we were 'tricked' by FDR, in cahoots with Churchill.

Tribunus said...

Thanks, Mark. Yes, I thought so.

Thanks, too, for the references to the FDR/New Dealers article.

The elephant in the room on this issue is the little matter of Pearl Harbo(u)r.

Unless one is prepared to say that this was a conspiracy got up by the New Dealers, it's not easy to blame FDR for going to war with the Axis powers in such circumstances.

There's quite a lot more hogwash in what Anonymous says.

When the "Muzzies" take over in Europe, the Hispanics will have taken over in the USA and Anonymous and his type may well also be history.

The "Empire of Greed" is an expression better used of the Dollar Empire set up by the US government to enrich already wealthy US businessmen.

Conversely, the British Empire was a net cost to the British people both financially and in human terms since we sent colonial adminstrators out to remote parts to share the hardships of the people we governed - something the US money-makers conspicuously do NOT do.

It is particularly laughable for a Yank to attack the Queen as an heretic when every single US President that ever was has been much more so, not least the present incumbent.

For sheer hypocrisy that takes the prize.

It is possibly only just beaten by a resident of NY City complaining about bad behaviour - this from a city that is notorious for crime, murder and mayhem just as much as any in the UK.

But - hey! - being an Anonymous Yankee dumb ass means never having to admit that you might be wrong!

umblepie said...

Thanks Tribunal, for the clarification. I have to say that I've got rather a 'soft spot' for 'dumb asses' - Oxford English Dictionary,the four-legged, long-eared, braying, variety!