On Asshats, Asstards & Assclown

Asshat is a slightly trendier and less severe variation of asshole, graphically describing someone who has his “head up his own ass” (i.e., not knowing what’s going on): one is wearing one’s ass for a hat. A more modern usage of asshat describes a person doing something stupid, and can apply to anyone: “The boss is up to asshattery because he broke the computer even though he knew he was doing the wrong thing.” This meaning was popularized by Something Awful character Jeff K. The word is popular in many online communities, serving as a more palatable version of its antecedent. According to Google’s Usenet statistics, the word only saw a token appearance every day or two starting in July 1999, but following a slow rise in 2002, it entered popular usage in May 2003. As it continued to grow in popularity, asshat began to be used by online gamers, in first person shooter and massively multiplayer role playing games. It was a commonplace word on servers where vulgar language was not allowed.

The insult assclown is used in a similar fashion, although it is not as common. Assclown has become well known among fans of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) due to wrestler Chris Jericho using it during his promos, especially his “Highlight Reel”. The term was also used in the film Office Space to describe singer-songwriter Michael Bolton. “Assclown” is also used by radio personality Todd Schnitt.

Asstard is another rarer variant upon the ass- theme. It is possibly a portmanteau of asshole and retard and has almost the same meaning as asshole, but with a greater implied connotation of stupidity. An identically spelled version of the same word is a contraction of asshole and bastard, with a commensurately more abusive meaning.

Asspit is a descriptive noun following this construction, used to describe places that are run-down or dirty, as in: “This house is an asspit.” It has a generally pejorative connotation.