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American contraction and corruption of Arse Hole (from Old English ærs, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch aars and German Arsch).

Literally refers to the anus but used to refer to a stupid, irritating, or contemptible person:

If it can be conceived as music, it can be executed as music, and presented to an audience in such a way that they will perceive it as music: "Look at this. Ever seen one of these before? I built this for you. What do you mean, 'What the fuck is it?' It's a goddam ETUDE, asshole."

The Real Frank Zappa Book

See also