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Posted by ESC on June 24, 2003

In Reply to: Hard Ass posted by R. Berg on June 23, 2003

: : Does anyone know the correct origin of the term "hard ass"? I think it may have come from the biker culture in reference to the hard tail harleys. A lot of harley riders think that a true rider only rides the rougher hard tail harleys (Motorcycle without rear suspension). It seems to make sence that the term could have come from this. Any ideas?

: Harley-Davidson is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Eric Partridge's "Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English" says "hard-arsed" in the sense of being a tightwad appeared around 1850. So no go on the hog hypothesis.

It sounds to me like it did come from riding -- but a horse, not a Harley.

HARD-ASS - "n. Esp. Mil. a strict, severe, intransigent, or recalcitrant person, usu. a man. - usu. considered vulgar. Cf. 'hardtail.' 2. (1876 in 'No. Dak. Hist.' XVII 176: Gen Custer (is called) 'Long Hair' & Hard Back Sides (by Indians)."From "Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Volume 2, H-O" by J.E. Lighter, Random House, New York, 1997.

There are other meanings but this one had the earliest known citation.