kicking arse
Posted: 30 January 2015 10:51 AM   [ Ignore ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3938
Joined  2007-02-26

In The Imitation Game, Hugh says “kick his arse”. This is in England during World War Two. Is this an anachronism?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 January 2015 12:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3450
Joined  2007-01-31

Seems likely.  The OED has no citations for “kick [someone’s] arse”, and cites the American “ass” version only back to 1977. While antedating is likely, wartime Britain seems a bit of a stretch.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 January 2015 12:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6268
Joined  2007-01-03

Yes, but not by as much as you would think. The bigger problem is that it’s an Americanism.

The OED (1997 Additions) has kick ass, both verb and adjective, from 1977. First appearance for both is in Rolling Stone.

But Green’s Dictionary of Slang has this for first citation:

1956 N. Algren Walk on the Wild Side 78: I’m so tired of kickin’ asses I just think I’ll start crushing skulls.

So the movie usage is about ten years too early and an ocean away. I suppose you could justify it if the character meant it literally.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 31 January 2015 02:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  178
Joined  2007-02-13

Not seen “the Imitation Game” and so not sure of the context, but in British English, to kick someone’s ( or “in the") backside / jacksey / arse has a different meaning.  It means more to get someone moving or working, not defeating.
Maybe the OED has an earlier date for this usage, certainly in my memory it seems to be an old expression.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 31 January 2015 05:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3938
Joined  2007-02-26

In the context of the scene, he means “beat him up”.

Profile
 
 
   
 
 
‹‹ BL: chauvinism      Mama/Mommy/ Mammary ››