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Ass

Ass

Many superstitions concern this familiar animal. The Egyptians traced his image on the cakes they offered to Typhon, god of evil. The Romans regarded the meeting of an ass as an evil omen, but the animal was honored in Arabia and Judea, and it was in Arabia that the ass of Silenus spoke to his master. Other talking asses were Balaam's ass (Numbers 22), which Mahomet placed in his paradise with Alborack; the ass of Aasis, Queen of Sheba; and the ass on which Jesus Christ rode into Jerusalem.

Some people have found something sacred and mysterious in the innocent beast, and a species of divination employed the head of an ass. At one time a special festival was held for the ass, during which he was led into the church while mass was sung. This reverence in which he was held by Christians was doubtless due to the black cross which he wore on his back, and which, it is said, was given him after the ass of Bethphage carried Christ into Jerusalem. But Pliny, who carefully gathered all that related to the animal, made no mention concerning the color of its coat. It seems likely, therefore, that the ass of today is as he always was.

It was not only the devout who respected the ass, for the wise Agrippa offered him an apology in his book, On the Vanity of the Sciences (1530). Among the Indians of Madras, the people of the Cavaravadonques, one of the principal castes, claimed to be descended from an ass. These Indians treated the ass as a brother, took his part, and prosecuted those who overburdened or ill-treated him in any way. In rainy weather they would often give him shelter when they denied it to his driver.

One old fable shows the ass in an unfavorable light. Jupiter had just taken possession of Olympus. On his coming, men asked of him an eternal springtime, which he accordingly granted, charging the ass of Silenus to bear the precious treasure to earth. The ass became thirsty and approached a fountain guarded by a snake, who refused to let the ass drink unless he parted with the treasure. The stupid animal thereupon bartered the gift of heaven for a skin of water, and since that time snakes, when they grow old, can change their skin and become young again, for they have the gift of perpetual springtime.

Another fable endows the creature with greater intelligence. In a village a few miles from Cairo, there lived a mountebank who possessed a highly trained ass, so clever that the country people took it to be a demon in disguise. One day the mounte-bank mentioned in the ass's hearing that the sultan wished to construct a beautiful building and planned to employ all the asses in Cairo to carry the lime, mortar, and stones. The ass immediately lay down and pretended to be dead, and his master begged for money to buy another. When he had collected some, he returned to his old ass. "He is not dead," he said; "he only pretended to die because he knew I had not the wherewithal to buy him food." Still the ass refused to rise, and the mountebank addressed the company, telling them that the sultan had sent out the criers commanding the people to assemble the next day outside Cairo to see the most wonderful sights in the world. He further desired that the most gracious ladies and the most beautiful girls should be mounted on asses. The ass raised himself and pricked up his ears. "The governor of my quarter," added the mountebank, "has begged me to lend my ass for his wife, who is old and toothless, and very ugly." The ass began to limp as though he were old and lame. "Ah, you like beautiful ladies?" said his master. The animal bowed his head. "Oh, well," said the man, "there are many present; show me the most beautiful." The ass obeyed with judgment and discretion.

These marvelous asses, said the demonologists, were, if not demons, at least men metamorphosed, like Apuleius, who was transformed into an ass. Vincent de Beauvais speaks of two women who kept a little inn near Rome and who sold their guests at the market after having changed them into pigs, fowls, or sheep. One of them, he adds, changed a certain comedian into an ass, and as he retained his talents under his new skin, she led him to the fairs on the outskirts of the city, gaining much money thereby. A neighbor bought this wise ass at a good price, and in handing it over the sorcerers felt obliged to warn the purchaser not to let the ass enter water. Its new master attended to the warning for some time, but one day the poor ass managed to get free and jumped into a lake, where it regained its natural shape, to the great surprise of its driver. The matter was brought to the ears of the pope, who had the two witches punished, while the comedian returned to of his profession.

Many stories are told of the ass that carried Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, which is said to have died at Verona, where its remains are still honored. They say the ass is a privileged animal that God formed at the end of the sixth day. Abraham employed it to carry the wood for the sacrifice of Isaac; it also carried the wife and son of Moses in the desert. The rabbis maintained that Balaam's ass was carefully nourished and hidden in a secret place until the coming of the Jewish Messiah.

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ass

ass, hoofed, herbivorous mammal of the genus Equus, closely related to the horse. It is distinguished from the horse by its small size, large head, long ears, and small hooves. There are two living species: Equus hemonius, the Asian ass, and E. asinus, the African ass. The latter species includes the domesticated variety, E. asinus asinus, commonly known as the donkey. A male ass is called a jackass and a female, a jenny. Wild asses are swift desert animals that may attain speeds of up to 40 mi (60 km) per hr. They live in herds of up to 1,000 animals.

The Asian Ass

The Asian wild ass typically has a sandy-colored coat with lighter-colored legs and belly, a short erect black mane, a black spinal stripe, and a black tail tuft. Its neigh is shrill. Different races of this species vary in size, but all are smaller than the African ass. They were once widely distributed across Asia, but they have been crowded out of their grazing lands by domestic livestock and have been hunted for their flesh and hides. Each race is now restricted to a very limited territory. Among them are the Persian ass, or onager, of central Asia; the Mongolian ass, or kulan, of NE Asia; the Tibetan ass, or kiang, presently the most numerous Asian wild ass; and the Indian ass, or ghorkhar. All are considered endangered, and the continued survival of the onager and the kulan is particularly threatened. The Syrian wild ass, of SW Asia, is probably already extinct.

African Asses and Donkeys

The two wild races of the African species, called Nubian and Somali wild asses, are becoming rare. They are found in the mountains and deserts of NE Africa. The African ass averages about 41/2 ft (135 cm) in shoulder height; it is grayish in color, with longer ears and mane than the Asian ass, and with a characteristic loud, harsh bray. Its descendant, the donkey, is the oldest domestic beast of burden; it is believed to have been domesticated in Egypt by c.4000 BC A variety of the Asian ass was used in ancient Mesopotamia but did not survive as a domestic animal; all modern domestic donkeys are descended from the African species.

The donkey is still used as a pack and draft animal. Although not as swift or powerful as the horse, it is strong for its size and has great powers of endurance. Donkeys are more surefooted than horses in mountainous country and are cheaper to maintain, as they feed on dry scrub. They may live up to 47 years, about twice as long as a horse. In some regions the donkey is crossbred with the horse to produce a mule.

The donkey was once widely used in Mexico and the SW United States, where it was known by its Spanish name of burro. A large population of feral donkeys (wild descendants of domesticated animals) now exists in the deserts of that region. Feral donkeys are also found in the Old World, where they have given rise to some confusion about the number of true wild asses left in existence.

Classification

Asses are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Perissodactyla, family Equidae.

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ass

ass1 / as/ • n. 1. a hoofed mammal (genus Equus) of the horse family with a braying call, typically smaller than a horse and with longer ears. The two species are E. africanus of Africa, which is the ancestor of the domestic ass or donkey, and E. hemionus of Asia. ∎  (in general use) a donkey. 2. inf. a foolish or stupid person. PHRASAL VERBS: make an ass of oneself inf. behave in a way that makes one look foolish or stupid. ass2 (Brit. arse) • n. vulgar slang a person’s buttocks or anus. ∎ a stupid, irritating, or contemptible person. ∎  women regarded as a source of sexual gratification. ∎  oneself (used in phrases for emphasis): get your ass in here fast the bureaucrat who wants everything in writing so as to cover his ass. DERIVATIVES: assed / ast/ adj. [in comb.] fat-assed guys.

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"ass." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Ass

40. Ass

  1. Balaams ass ass which rebukes Balaam who then blesses the Israelites. [O.T.: Numbers 22:2235]
  2. Bottom, Nick oaf upon whom Puck fixes asss head. [Br. Lit.: Midsummer Nights Dream ]
  3. Dapple Sanchos ass. [Span. Lit.: Don Quixote ]
  4. Democratic Party donkey; symbol of Democratic Party in U.S. politics. [Am. Culture: Misc.]
  5. Golden Ass, The Lucius, transformed into donkey, observes foibles of mankind. [Rom. Lit.: Benét, 44]
  6. Midas for judging Pan winner of flute contest, his ears are changed to asss ears. [Gk. Myth.: Leach, 83]
  7. Pinocchio and Lampwick naughtiness causes them to sprout donkeys ears and tails. [Ital. Lit.: Pinocchio ]

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"Ass." Allusions--Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Ass." Allusions--Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. . Retrieved October 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/ass

ass

ass a donkey, proverbially taken as a type of patience and stupidity.
ass-eared epithet applied to Midas after he had unwisely given judgement against Apollo in a contest of flute-playing, and been rewarded by the god with donkey's ears in place of his own.
ass in a lion's skin a foolish or cowardly person who adopts a heroic pose or appearance; the allusion is to a fable in which a donkey dresses up in the skin of a lion to appear terrible.

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ass

ass Wild, speedy, long-eared member of the horse family found in African and Asian desert and mountain areas. Smaller than the horse, it has a short mane and tail, small hoofs and dorsal stripes. The three African races (species Equus asinus) are the Nubian, North African and the rare Somali. Height: 90–150cm (3–5ft) at shoulder. Asian races are the kiang and the onager. Family Equidae.

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"ass." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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ass

ass donkey OE.; stupid person XV. OE. assa — OCelt. *as(s)in (W. asyn) — L. asinus. Gmc. *asiluz (— L. asinus or asellus) is repr. by OE. e(o)sol, OS., OHG. esil (Du. ezel EASEL, G. esel), Goth. asilus.

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"ass." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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jenny

jenny pet-form (see -Y6) of Janet (or Jane), used as a prefix to denote a female animal, as j. ass, j. wren (XVII), and in the names of machines, as spinning-j. (XVIII).

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jenny

jen·ny / ˈjenē/ • n. (pl. -nies) 1. a female donkey or ass. 2. short for spinning jenny.

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ass

ass (Equus) See EQUIDAE.

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"ass." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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jenny

jenny: see ass.

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ass

assalas, Alsace, amass, ass, Bass, chasse, crass, crevasse, en masse, gas, Hamas, lass, mass, morass, sass, tarantass, tass, wrasse •Díaz • Phidias • palliasse •materfamilias, paterfamilias •Asturias • Aphrodisias • Trias •Donbas • Vargas • Ofgas • biogas •teargas • jackass • Hellas • Ulfilas •Stanislas • Candlemas • landmass •Martinmas • biomass • Childermas •Esdras • Mithras • hippocras •sassafras • demitasse • gravitas

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jenny

jennyAnnie, ca'canny, canny, cranny, Danny, fanny, granny, nanny, tranny •Ariadne, Evadne •daphne •Agni, Cagney •acne, Arachne, hackney •hootenanny •Afghani, ani, Armani, Azerbaijani, Barney, biriani, blarney, Carney, frangipani, Fulani, Galvani, Giovanni, Hindustani, Killarney, maharani, Mbabane, Modigliani, Omani, Pakistani, Rafsanjani, Rajasthani, rani, sarnie •McCartney •antennae, any, Benny, blenny, Dene, fenny, jenny, Kenny, Kilkenny, Lenny, many, penne, penny, Rennie •catchpenny • pinchpenny •pyrotechny •Bahraini, brainy, Chaney, Eugénie, grainy, Janey, Khomeini, rainy, veiny, waney, zany •halfpenny, shove-halfpenny, twopenny-halfpenny •Athene, bambini, beanie, Bellini, Bernini, bikini, Boccherini, Borromini, capellini, catenae, Cellini, Cherubini, Cyrene, Fellini, fettuccine, genie, greeny, grissini, Heaney, Houdini, Jeanie, linguine, martini, Mazzini, meanie, Mussolini, Mycenae, Paganini, Panini, porcini, Puccini, queenie, Rossellini, Rossini, Santoríni, Selene, sheeny, spaghettini, Sweeney, teeny, teeny-weeny, tortellini, Toscanini, Trini, tweeny, wahine, weeny, zucchini •monokini

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