assholism definition: Noun (countable and uncountable, plural assholisms) 1. ( slang, vulgar) Consistently English Wiktionary. Available under CC-BY-SA. A condition in which an individual is a chronic asshole and feels that he/she cannot stop. Dictionary: assholism – ✓ meaning, ✓ definition, ✓ synonyms, ✓ origin. assholism (English). Alternative forms. arseholism.

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Fair enough, but it must be said, his book dedicates much ink to bolstering the word’s distinctions.

Nunberg also argues that this is the Age of the Asshole because we now “find the phenomenon and its practitioners so interesting.

He is a contributor to the blog LanguageLog. He was the expert for the group of American Indians who petitioned the Trademark Commission to cancel the mark of the Washington Redskins.

The woman who just walks to the front of the line. Nunberg has written scholarly books and articles on a range of topics, including semantics and pragmatics, information access, written language structure, multilingualism and language policy, and the cultural implications of digital technologies.

Retrieved September 13, But according to Nunberg, an asshole is a singly different species. Asshole or the Word for It?

Assholism, the First Sixty Years. Popularized in part by author and Army veteran Norman Mailer in his novel The Naked and the Deadthe term continued to spread into popular culture via the works of Woody Allen and Neil Simon.

Asshole Rising

His new book, Ascent of the A-Word: But isn’t this the same light source merely refracting through a newer medium? Let’s agree that the man with the Hertz Gold Card is probably an asshole here the word has a kind of verisimilitude, or as Nunberg puts it, it’s just the “shoe that fits” ; but if that’s assholism, it isn’t the same thing as what so many politicians, asshokism personalities and their followers do.


Nunberg calls one who does so an “anti-asshole, the person who can violate bourgeois conventions and social norms in the cause of punishing offenders”. If assholism is the witting provocation of one’s adversaries, then its defining characteristic is not obtuseness so much as the effective opposite: He is enblish working on a book about language and asshplism in public life. Assholism, the First Sixty Years”What I’m interested in isn’t a distinct species of congenital jerks, but a social condition and a disposition that everyone is liable to on trying occasions.

There are plenty of assholes, boring as a doorknob, who get no more attention than anyone else. Follow Assholiism Whatley on Twitter: It’s a valid question, but the phenomenon itself isn’t new.

assholism meaning and definition

Retrieved from ” https: It’s that we as a culture would need such a word in the first place. In AscentNunberg traces to World War II the origins of the word as an epithet, when assholusm was used as a term of abuse for superior officers considered abusive or self-important.

Its middle chapters return a profit tracing the historical evolution of the word’s meaning. Perhaps we all have an asshole id in need of succor. Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. Altschuler described Ascent as “delightfully and devilishly trenchant and provocative book”, praising Nunberg’s “style and surgical precision”. Untilhe was a principal scientist at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, working on the development of linguistic technologies.


Assholism, the First 60 Yearsdocuments the cultural history and significance of “asshole,” as an insult, a personality, and a phenomena of American popular media. As one example, Nunberg mentions Ann Coulter’s Muslim-bashing, which he suspects she does for the sole purpose of rallying her fans and enraging “the libs.

Or maybe assholes behaving badly aren’t what’s compelling at all. Nunberg’s diagnosis of public life seems unnecessary. Never was a word that you’re not supposed to say naturalized in such a way. Nunberg asserts that the nature of our politics, the media and the Internet have “created a host of new occasions for acting like assholes and new ways of performing assholism,” which constitutes a new age.

Ascent of the A-Word: Assholism, the First Sixty Years

Nunberg has been a expert witness in a number of legal cases involving trademarks and other linguistic matters. For the Greeks and Melville these characters served a didactic purpose to warn against hubris. It took to literature in Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead, then was adopted by the counter-culture of the 60s, by country singers like Willie Nelson and David Allan Coe, by the feminist movement, and so forth.

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