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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

References in Zappa's music

Zappa about the topic

Gracie Slick of the Jefferson Airplane once called you the most intelligent asshole she's ever met. What do you think she meant by that?

Zappa: "I don't know. Would you presume that "asshole" has a negative connotation? Maybe she likes assholes. Hitler was an asshole. He just had a good p.r. department. Also a good tailor." - Quoted from Dialogue: Frank Zappa, COQ, February 1974.

"If the day comes when there are no assholes left in the world, you can believe I will come up with something else to talk about. But I don't think that day will come because God, in his infinite wisdom, has provided us with an endless supply of assholes. They're here to stay. The asshole is a natural phenomenon. All the epoxy in the world won't seal these assholes." - Quoted from He's Only 38 and He Knows How to Nasty, Clark Peterson, Relix magazine, November 1979.