Could someone please tell me the origin of the phrase working my ass off or derivations or variations thereof? I've seen 1930s and 1946 as answers, but no elaboration or explanation.

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    What have you found in your research? Please include it and where you're struggling. Here's the tour and helpful help center.
    – livresque
    Commented Dec 23, 2022 at 1:33
  • Probably you should add 100 years or so to whatever age you find, because it must have been in common use for some time before anybody wrote it down and anybody else kept it available to the present date. This is especially true for vulgar expressions; since "vulgar" means "common", they're fixtures of speech but not writing -- until much later, when they feel picquant, instead of offensive. Commented Dec 23, 2022 at 3:10
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    In order to give suggestions we like to see that the original enquirer has already worked off at least some part of their anatomy in research prior to posting here.
    – Elliot
    Commented Dec 23, 2022 at 4:42

1 Answer 1


There are several variants of phrase using "tail" or "butt" instead of "a(r)se" It's considered American in origin from beginning of 20th century. James Farrell used it in Studs Lonigan (the book, not TV series): "This idea of sweating your tail off with work." which gives 1932 as a date.

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