Why would having my ass in a sling be a bad thing?

How is that even possible? Seriously, where did this phrase come from, i.e. “drive when you’re drunk, the cops will bust you, then your ass is in a sling.” Sort of ranks down there with “Your ass is grass”, which I never really understood either, unless followed by “…and I’m a giant lawnmower.”

I’d always thought “your ass is grass” was another way of saying that you’d be dead and turned into fertilizer. AKA, pushing up the daisies.

If you get your butt kicked so bad it needs to be in a sling, that sounds pretty painful. I would’ve thought that was quite clear.

A book of phrase origins I found traces it back to the South at least 100 years ago and suggests that it was originally “arm in a sling”; in other words, to have your arm in a sling (or ass, I guess) is to put yourself in a state of pain and trouble and hurt.


And as you surmised, “ass is grass” is another good old Southern phrase whose full version is the classy “Your ass is grass and I’m the lawnmower!”

I had never heard that second part before this evening. I have also now found many websites dedicated to the various ways “ass” can be used in a phrase. Not so joyous about the discovery. :slight_smile:


It’s just a bit of joking hyperbole. You have your ass in a sling because someone has broken it for you. The “sling” part is by analogy with a broken arm; it doesn’t indicate an actual sling. It sounds more humorous than having your ass in a cast.

Actually, you can have your ass in a sling.

One of the ways you move folks who cannot use either their arms or legs to help you is to put a sling under them (under their ass, in fact, quite literally) and use electric, or hydraulic assists to lift them from their bed, or wheel chair.

Having your ass in a sling is a relatively unpleasant thing, far worse than having your arm in a sling. It also is likely to be far more limiting.


Unless it’s one of those butterfly f&ck slings that hangs from the ceiling …

Be on the lookout for a new (to me, anyway) false etymology. From AOPA Pilot ‘TestPilot’ page (General trivia questions, True or False, Multiple Choice):

From TestPilotAnswers:

The General section comprises questions sent in by readers, and, I assume, their answers.

Cite for the fuller version being the original? I would have thought the second term in ‘your ass is grass’ was chosen purely for the rhyme (these phrases don’t have to make sense) and that the lawnmower was a later elaboration.

The first time I heard it (back in the '70s) the lawnmower was part of the phrase.

So it would appear there is no clear etymology for this, just one of those phrases that evolved as a humorous metaphor (although I like the tail gunner story).

[Karl Childers]Some folks calls it an ass sling, but I calls it a slingbutt, mm-hmmm[/KC]

I have no etymological data to back it up, but I always assumed that the ‘sling’ part referred to a throwing sling of the David-and-Goliath or trebuchet-rock-holding type. Thus, if your ass is in a sling, you are all teed up to be launched a great distance with dire consequences upon landing. By extension, you are at the mercy of the guy whose finger is on the trigger.

There’s all sorts of colloquial usages of “ass” or “butt” simply because it’s an intrinsically humorous part of the anatomy, and the result sounds funny. It doesn’t have to really make any sense, or essentially means the whole person. One might be slightly more brief and say “drive when you’re drunk, and the cops will bust your ass.” Presumably, they are busting all of you. Your ass doesn’t have an independent existence before the law.

And here I thought it meant one of these things: :eek:

http: // www.dickwaddfetish.com/sling.htm
(Definitely not work safe!)

Having my ass in one of those slings would be pleasant. Not sure as to the broken-ass sling referred to by the OP.

Best line of the day. :smiley: