Where did "Grown-Ass Man" come from?

And yeah, I know, from his Grown-Ass Mother’s womb, har-de-har.
Now that that’s out of the way, on Thursday’s Survivor, one man, Russell S., a dread-headed black male, called another man a grown-ass man. The first time I ever heard this phrase was also on Survivor, when Rory (or “Royry”:cool:), another black male, angrily declared himself to be a grown-ass man back in 2004. I’ve been hearing this phrase off and on since then, although it’s been more frequent lately. So I was wondering how long this phrase has been around. Did Rory coin it himself, or was it popular and well beneath my radar before then?

In slang speech, -ass has been used as an adjective intensifier for quite some time. Big-ass, expensive-ass, heavy-ass, bad-ass, etc. I personally wonder if it evolved from “dumb-ass” or whether it’s the other way around.

I firs heard it when Cedric the Entertainer used it in The Original Kings of Comedy.
Description of Cedric’s bit in the movie from Wikipedia.

The -ass intensifier is especially prevalent in Black slang. Cedric the entertainer also had a book titled Grown Ass Man. Chris Rock had a routine on the Cheese and Crackers album called generic food where he altered a can of BEANS into BIG ASS BEANS which then became a name brand that his mother wouldn’t buy. Plus The restaurant in CB4 is called BIg Ass Biscuits.

The -ass construction adjective-ass noun is most encountered when cussing someone out.

-ho-ass bitch
-bitch-ass motherfucker
-pussy-ass nigga(There’s actually a 2 Live Crew song by this name)

Other popular constructions:

-fine-ass babe(or bitch depending on the speaker)
-big-ass titties
-stupid-ass motherfucker
-triflin’-ass hoes
-broke-ass motherfucker

Props to enomaj for an etymologically sound explanation. My dad has been saying “grown-ass,” “broke-ass,” etc. all my life.

I think “broke-ass” is probably the most common usage.

Obligatory XKCD link

The first time I heard it was when David Letterman went through a phase of giving away “big-ass hams” on his show.

This post is of no help whatsoever as I can’t remember when that was, and I’m sure Letterman did not event the term.

Count me as another who’s heard the ‘adjective-ass’ combo from older family members as far back as he can remember. “I’m not playing with your sorry ass” comes painfully to mind.

I forgot about rabbit-ass mind, a glaring omission. Used in the phrase “You are out of your rabbit-ass mind.” I’ve never rabbit-ass used anyother way or with any other word

I’ve heard [adj]-ass [noun] a lot but specifically first heard “grown ass-man” in Kanye West’s Through the Wire.

Obligatory Big Ass Fans link.

Fans. Stuff with the Big Ass Fans logo on it.

Men who claim to be grown-ass men=invariably acting like little-ass boys. At best.

When it’s said about another man (perhaps the way Russell on Survivor used it) it usually means the other man is acting in some immature way that it not acceptable for a normal adult man. Saying “grown-ass man” is a way to express frustration that the immature man is supposed to be a mature adult, but is not.

When it’s said in a declaration about oneself, it could be an expression of frustration that someone else doesn’t recognize one’s own inherent adulthood, and is treating the declaring/complaining man with less respect than he feels any adult man deserves. Example: “Dammit, I’m a grown-ass man, and that means I don’t need anyone telling me what I’m allowed to eat!”

Of course it could also be something declared about himself by someone who is the exact opposite, but that’s not necessarily the only explanation for it.

I’ve also heard it used forever, in Black culture.

I’ve also often heard “grown-ass woman” used in all the same ways as “grown-ass man.”