Make an ass of yourself


What's the meaning of the phrase 'Make an ass of yourself'?

To make an ass of your self is to behave absurdly.

What's the origin of the phrase 'Make an ass of yourself'?

This expression is first found in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Nights Dream, 1600, in which the weaver Nick Bottom has his head magically transformed into that if a donkey by the fairy Puck:

This is to make an asse of mee, to fright me, if they could.

An example in print that includes the currently common ‘yourself’ appears as late as the 19th century, in the novel by Anthony Trollope, The Belton Estate, 1866:

‘I shall never marry.’

‘Nonsense, Will. Don’t make such an ass of yourself as to suppose that you’ll not get over such a thing as this.

Trend of make an ass of yourself in printed material over time

Gary Martin is a writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.

Gary Martin

Writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.