Words are important. They connect people to one another and help us communicate our thoughts and ideas. In some cultures, however, some words are more important than others. While it may be a myth that the Inuits have 100 words for snow, there are more than 40 Arabic words for camel (all the different kinds of camel) and the Greeks have four distinct words for love.
Based on the theory that there are more words for something that is more important to a specific culture, I think I’ve hit on the most important thing to Americans: the butt. That’s right, there are more than 30 words to describe our backsides. (Many of the words are slang, but still!) There is an intense fascination in our culture with something that we use for such mundane things as sitting. I have compiled a list of all the words I could find for our butts, but it is by no means comprehensive. In alphabetical order, for your easy readability, complete with all my inane comments, enjoy!
Arse – Delightfully British, when you want to feel like you’re cussing, without actually cussing.
Ass – When you want to actually cuss.
Backside – Much too vague for my taste.
Badonkadonk – Use this term to feel more street, or to copy Trace Adkins.
Behind – Quite possibly the most polite way to refer to your butt.
Booty – Most popular among rappers.
Bottom – See behind. But not quite as polite as that.
Breech – An old British term. Where “breeches” or “britches,” as my dad calls it, comes from.
Bum – Man, a lot of these are British. Maybe it’s not just we Americans that have an unhealthy obsession.
Buns – If you don’t mind some people mistaking them for slices of bread.
Butt – A classic. Never goes out of style.
Buttocks – For the more proper, but still inappropriate.
Caboose – Yes, from the train. If you call my butt a caboose, I will laugh.
Callipygian – Technically, this one means someone with a shapely butt, but let’s not quibble.
Cheeks – I don’t think your butt and your face should have features in common.
Derriere – French, and therefore snooty and sophisticated.
Duff – Scotch-Irish. Short, sweet and to-the-point.
Fanny – Now out of style, used to be the polite way to say butt.
Glutes – The muscle in the butt, used by all those annoying exercise coaches.
Gluteus Maximus – Latin. Only use if you want to sound pompous.
Haunches – Mostly refers to animals.
Heinie – Childish, but effective.
Hind end – Too much trouble to say.
Keister – Mildly amusing.
Posterior – Could refer to a number of things.
Rear end – Descriptive, not too vulgar. This one’s a winner.
Rump – As in rump roast.
Seat – YAWN. Boring. References the fact that we sit on our butts.
Tail end – We have a tailbone, so I guess this makes sense?
Tuckus – Amusing, makes the butt something harmless. Like saying ‘tinkle’ instead of pee.
Tush – See tuckus.
Tushy – This one goes a little far in the cutesy category. Better stick with tush.
Trunk – As in ‘junk in the trunk.’
So, what other words do you know for butt? What other terms do you know that we have WAY too many words for? Care to weigh in on why we place such importance on our butts? Leave a comment!