There's a saying that goes something like:

Never half ass anything. Always use your full ass.

Is there another succinct way of expressing this in more polite language?

I think there are a number of concepts conveyed simultaneously, to varying degrees:

  • Don't be lazy.
  • Fully commit to what you do.
  • As @jim points out in the comments, "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right."
  • Take responsibility for your actions, or perhaps, take pride in your work.
  • Pick and choose your battles. Or perhaps, don't spend time on things that don't matter.
  • What is the "this" that you understand this saying to express? Does using one's "full ass" suggest a better, more committed effort, or a more complete screw-up, or both? Commented Aug 28, 2017 at 14:43
  • 4
    If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right.
    – Jim
    Commented Aug 28, 2017 at 14:47
  • @BrianDonovan expanded my post. I imagine this most frequently being uttered by some trade master half-seriously admonishing an apprentice after a careless mistake, but I also feel like it's good advice to follow in general.
    – BurnsBA
    Commented Aug 28, 2017 at 17:52
  • Do you know the actual expression?? It is: to do something in a half-assed way. Your author has made it into a verb. People take these liberties with English because they can. But it really isn't a verb per se.
    – Lambie
    Commented Aug 28, 2017 at 21:40
  • 1
    Never do any thing half fast- always go full throttle. ;-)
    – Jim
    Commented Oct 3, 2017 at 15:49

3 Answers 3


In the vein of "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right," there is the expression, "Don't run off half-cocked." My dad used to say that when we didn't prepare properly or did a task poorly due to not thinking about it enough.


I'm familiar with half-assing something, and with the past participle (e.g. a half-assed assignment), but I've never heard of using one's full ass or whole ass. In any case, there's "give 110 percent," "always give it your all" "give it your best effort" "do your best," etc. What I think would align the best with half-ass and whole-ass is doing something "halfheartedly" and "wholeheartedly."


In the case where you're referring to making a major commitment: Don't try to sit on two chairs at the same time. This kind of has the "ass" thing going too.

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