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  1. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #11

    Re: Is this phrase polite?

    Quote Originally Posted by eghbali2266 View Post
    Hi.
    When we say oh, that's a kick ass. It means wow, that's cool. Is this phrase polite or not though?
    Thanks in advance
    Tdol and Ems are exactly right. It's a slang American adjective. We don't say "That's a kick ass." We say "That's kick-ass," meaning "That's powerful."

    It doesn't mean "cool." For example, a laundry detergent might be kick-ass, but it's probably not cool.

    When used as an adjective, it's crude but not rude. When we use it as a noun and verb combination it might or might not be polite, depending on the context.

    Polite:

    - Our team really kicked ass yesterday. (Our team played really well and won.)

    Rude:

    - If you bother my little brother again, I'll kick your ass. (If you bother my little brother again, I'll beat you up.)

    I hope that helps!
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #12

    Re: Is this phrase polite?

    I can't believe that 14,000+ people have read this thread! But that's why I try to help some posters who I know will probably never understand what I'm saying. Someone will.

  3. VIP Member
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    #13

    Re: Is this phrase polite?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    Someone will.
    The perennial optimist!

  4. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #14

    Re: Is this phrase polite?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I was referring to "That's a kick ass" (post #1). Given that I'd never heard the term used that way before, and the positioning of the indefinite article, I took "kick ass" to be a two-word noun.
    Then it would need a comma and would be rude (at least in American English). In American English, kick ass (always a verb phrase) and kick-ass (always an adjective) mean completely different things.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  5. Lynxear's Avatar
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    #15

    Re: Is this phrase polite?

    The true meaning of "kick ass" depends a lot on context. You will find is used mostly by the under 40 crowd, not the older generation.

    It is common in Canadian English but it is probably borrowed from American English.

    The sentiment is not particularly polite and I would not use it when talking to a senior person. For one reason being that they may not understand what you are saying and they may misinterpret what you are saying. It is like using the word "sick" to describe something a person wears or does as being awesome. Most over 60 years old don't take "sick" to mean anything other than ill health.

    It also depends on whether "kick ass" is a verb or an adjective.

    Verb

    John is not happy with those guys as they are bullies. He will kick ass if he sees them again.

    John is looking for a fight.

    That dress will kick ass when you go to the prom dance.

    You look so good in that dress that all the girls at the dance will be jealous.

    As an adjective

    That is a kick ass motorcycle!

    I have never seen a better looking motorcycle. I want to own it.

    In general, when used as an adjective it is the same as saying something is "awesome". As a verb, you need context to determine its meaning.

    As far as being polite or not, it depends on its meaning and what age group is using the words. It is not something that the over 50 age group would say.
    It would be weird if someone like your parents used "kick ass" in their conversation. It is not because they would be impolite, it is more that people that old don't use that type of slang.

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