A lot of memes show someone with a certain expression on their face and then caption it with a funny, made-up scenario that supposedly caused it. In this case, the meme is referencing a certain horror movie. Can you guess what it is? Comment below!

How many times have you seen something like this and wondered what in the world the word ass is doing there and what it means?

Despite the fact that ass is obviously considered a "bad word", it's often added to adjectives and nouns for various shades of meaning and has become quite popular among people of all ages. It's become so commonplace that you'll even hear it on tv. (You'll see it with and without the hyphen, but I consider the hyphenated form correct.) 

For instance, ugly-ass house, big-ass roach, dumb-ass movie, cute-ass puppy, etc. The basic meaning is «really [ADJ]», but it can also mean «so [ADJ]» depending on a few factors explained below.

Fair warning... this is going to be one long-ass page!

1 When [ADJ]-ass is used with an indefinite*, random noun, the meaning is usually «very/really [ADJ]». For instance, in the snippet below, a big-ass stick simply means «a(ny) really/very big stick»

Note that adjectives formed with -ass are always used directly in front of the noun. In other words, we say an ugly-ass house, but not the house is ugly-ass**

Also note that both the words of the ass-compound have a secondary stress, and the primary stress is on the noun that follows: an ùgly-àss hóuse. This is already emphatic enough, but if you want to be really emphatic, replace a(n) with one: That is one ugly-ass house!


*An indefinite noun is any of the following:

⦿ a noun with the indefinite article a(n) or, more emphatically, one: an/one ugly-ass house

⦿ a plural noun with no article or with some: (some) rude-ass children

⦿ storytelling this: this old-ass woman 

[The demonstratives this/these used in storytelling instead of the indefinite article a(n) and plural some to introduce new characters and elements into the storyline. In that usage, it basically acts as an indefinite article.]

**One exception is badass, sometimes written bad-ass, which can come after the noun it modifies when used as an adjective: This show is badass! meaning that it's really good or cool. Note that when used in this way, it's common to stress it on the last syllable: badáss(See badass)
Although [ADJ]-ass already basically means really/very [ADJ], you can actually still use these adverbs with it. In other words, Alex could've said a really big-ass stick to make it more emphatic.
____________⦿ to be the shit | to be the absolute best!⦿ Language! | an exclamation used to tell others to watch their language when they use profanity⦿ to go to town | to start doing something very "enthusiastically". Here: to start beating the snake like a maniac — repeatedly and hard.⦿ I'm not going to tell you again! | This is your final warning!

Nicky and Natasha take the kids on their first camping trip. His son, Alex, has been camping, but it's his daughter's first time.


Nicky: Sally, you're gonna absolutely love camping!

Alex: Camping is the shit! 

Natasha: Language! 

Sally: What if we see a snake?

Alex: Then pick up a big-ass stick and go to town!

Natasha: Young man, I'm not going to tell you again about your language!

Christian's little brother pops his head in the door of his brother's room to announce that the family has dinner plans and he needs to get ready. Christian is not happy.


Dougie: Hey, mom says we're going to Aunt Connie's for dinner and a movie tonight, so get dressed.

Christian: Ugh! Just shoot me! 

Dougie: I thought you liked Aunt Connie.

Christian: I love her, but if I have to sit through one more boring-ass movie and eat one more salty-ass vegan dinner at her place, I'm gonna slit my wrists!

____________⦿ to Aunt Connie's | «to Aunt Connie's house» | In the spoken language, we constantly use the possessive without words like house, apartment, place, etc. to express motion to someone's house.⦿ Just shoot me! | Used to complain about having to do something you hate doing. Here, Christian would rather be shot than go to his aunt's. To be clear, he's not refusing to go, just complaining about having to go.⦿ to sit through something | to have to sit and endure something unpleasant like a boring movie, a bad meal, a long lecture, or a disgusting or disturbing video.⦿ to slit/slash one's wrists | to commit suicide by cutting one's wrists and bleeding out

«This is how I look when I'm having a reeeeally boring conversation on the phone»

2 When [ADJ]-ass is used in front of a definite* noun, it can also mean «very/really [ADJ]», but it usually means «soooo [ADJ]»

This is because the adverb so is subjective, and you can only be subjective about definite things: something you see, have seen or already know. It becomes a personal opinion. So when Andy says that long-ass message in the snippet below, it's because he's looking right at it and he finds it really long, he can't believe how long it is. 

To give you another example, say you and a friend are out and about when he suggests popping into a Starbucks for coffee. You could say Why buy that expensive-ass coffee when I have coffee at home? Here, the nuance at work would be «that coffee that's sooooo expensive» or, more succinctly, «such expensive coffee», as your personal opinion: you find their coffee really expensive, whereas your friend may be perfectly happy to pay a few extra bucks for good coffee. 

And [ADJ]-ass doesn't necessarily have to refer to a negative quality, although it usually does. But you'll hear things like: Who owns that sweet-ass car in the parking lot? which basically means «Who's car is that? I think it's soooo nice». Also, you may see it used with the superlative: I haven't seen Brian in the longest-ass time. I wonder how he's doing. Here, obviously, it's just a more emphatic way of saying in suuuuch a long time. 


*A definite noun is any of the following:

⦿ a noun with the definite article the: the cheap-ass ring you gave me

⦿ a noun with the demonstratives this/that/these/those: that sweet-ass car; these rude-ass children

⦿ a noun with a possessive adjective: your old-ass computer; my broke-ass ex

____________Here, when he sees the message, he thinks to himself Wow, that message is soooo long! In other words, he makes a judgment based on his personal impression. So, that long-ass message basically means «that message that's soooo long in my opinion» or even «too long in my opinion»

Andy goes to see his cousin and when he walks into his room, he finds him reading a message that takes up the entire computer screen.


Andy: Dude, who wrote you that long-ass message?!

Christian: Ugh... I broke up with Natalie last night. This is the fifth one she's sent today! I almost want to get back together so she'll stop texting me!

In this meme, the bird on the left is extremely stupid... so stupid, in fact, that he doesn't know what a star is, so he calls it that weird-ass pointy thing. In other words «that reeeally strange thing with all those pointy parts sticking out of it»😂

3 Sometimes, [ADJ]-ass is used to reproachfully point out a quality that should be the focus in a particular situation and seems to have been overlooked.

For instance, you agree that an adult man should know better than to argue with child, right? So if you see a man in a store arguing with a little girl because she wants to buy the last pack of gum, and he wants to take it because he claims he "saw it first," you could say: 

I can't believe my eyes... a grown-ass man fighting with a little girl over a pack of gum! 

In other words, we use -ass to point out a quality that seems to have been overlooked and is very valid: he's a grown man! So here, the speaker uses grown-ass to emphatically remind this man that he's an adult(!), and he's arguing with a little girl!!! In other words, it has a nuance of «You're an adult, for God's sake!».

To give you another example, let's say your brother's a multimillionaire. You go out to lunch together and you have a glass of wine, but he's not drinking, so he orders water. When the bill comes, he freaks out because they charged him $7 for a bottle of water. He even calls the manager over to complain about the charge. You say: 

Are you serious?! A rich-ass man complaining about seven bucks?!

In other words, «Let me remind you: you're rich, for God's sake!».

Similarly, in the snippet below, Nina very authoritatively reminds her brother that he's a married man and should behave like one.

Nina and her friends are out and about on a Saturday night. They walk into a nightclub where she sees her brother sitting alone at the bar, nursing a glass of whiskey.


Nina: Uh, what are you doing here? 

Doug: Uh, what does it look like I'm doing — having a drink. Is that against the law?

Nina: I just don't think it's right for you, a married-ass man, to be sitting alone, in a nightclub, on the weekend, with a wife and kids at home.

____________⦿ to nurse a drink | to hold it in your hands and take occasional sips from it; to take one's time drinking one drink⦿ Uh...? | Used in an authoritative tone to get someone's attention before asking a question that you demand an answer to. For instance, picture a dad seeing his teenage daughter about to leave the house at 11pm: Uh, where do you think you're going at this hour? 

Here's another meme based on a facial expression. Here, the subject has a confounded look on his face because he thought that as a grown man (for God's sake!), he knew what he was talking about or was making the right decision, but his mother turned out to be right... yet again!😅 


The form [NOUN]-ass is used somewhat differently from [ADJ]-ass. To start with, the noun usually denotes someone or something famous for the quality you want to express. 

For instance, in the continuation of Andy and Christian's conversation below, Andy refers to the long texts from Natalie as those War-and-Peace-ass texts. Everyone knows that War and Peace is an extremely long book, so this association works perfectly. In other words, instead of using the adjective long, Andy chose a noun that's famous for being long and turned it into an adjective by adding -ass

This usage is almost always snarky and/or humorous — you usually don't like or don't approve of the thing you're describing, or you're making fun of it. Here, Andy obviously thinks the letter is too long... annoyingly long — so long that it reminds him of War and Peace

Here are a couple more examples: 

⦿ I can't believe Anna's lived in the US for fifty years with that Borat-ass English. 

«Her English is so bad that it reminds me of the way Borat speaks»

⦿ Let's take another street — this one has those Mount Everest-ass speed bumps

«The speed bumps on this street are so big that they remind me of Mt. Everest»

As you can see, you can get very creative with this form of expression... and it can be quite funny but also quite snarky, so use good judgement.

Andy and Christian's conversation continues


Andy: Why doesn't she just call you instead of sending you those War-and-Peace-ass texts?

Christian: Please! That's all I need! I'd be on the phone all day. I need to go to work.

Nicky goes to see his coworker, Erik, and notices the new decor in his apartment.


Nicky: Oh wow, where’s all your goth furniture?! Your vampire art! The gargoyle!!! 

Erik: My girlfriend just moved in and replaced all my stuff with her Friends-ass furniture! I thought I had walked into the wrong house. I’m literally freaking out right now!

Here Erik is making fun of his girlfriend's furniture by comparing it to the furniture on the show Friends, which clearly isn't his style.
____________⦿ goth | Short for gothic, it refers to a subculture or style whereby people wear black clothes, black makeup, listen to dark music, and like things associated with death and the occult.⦿ gargoyle | A dragon-like statue often found as a decoration in goth apartments and homes.

In closing, it's important to note that American English has set nouns that contain the element ass that have nothing to do with the forms above. For instance, the noun lard-ass is used as a derogatory name for someone who's fat and it literally means that they have lard (pig fat) in their behind. We also have the noun kiss-ass for someone who's constantly kissing people's ass in the sense of bending over backwards to please people in authority. 

We also commonly use jackass, dumbass, and badass, which are written as one word and refer to people (although jackass is also another word for donkey). They also have nothing to do with the nuances described on this page.