What's the meaning of to get your head out of your ass?

P1: Scientists turn blood cells into stem cells v. never gon die yall.

P2: F-k population control.

P1: Science can save us if we ever get our heads out of our asses.

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    General Reference. It's just a coarse variation of bury your head in the sand, alluding to the supposed tendency of ostriches to do this when threatened. Commented Aug 28, 2012 at 17:35
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    @FumbleFingers I don't know, I actually found it surprisingly hard to find a "legitimate" reference, as opposed to say UrbanDictionary, for this one. Commented Aug 28, 2012 at 20:10
  • @cornbread ninja oh it's just people from a forum that I frequent.
    – Theo
    Commented Aug 28, 2012 at 21:28
  • @Evan Harper: On seconds thoughts, I think you've got a point! I just grabbed the UD link and a definition for the ostrich version in my first comment, but I see nothing making the fairly obvious connection between that and brown-nosing, kissing ass, and having your head up someone else's ass. Obvious or not, it doesn't seem to be explicitly set out anywhere else, so I shall vote to re-open. Commented Aug 28, 2012 at 23:49

2 Answers 2


To have your head in your ass means to ignore problems around you, usually by not seeing or not wanting to see them.

To get your head out of your ass means to start noticing those problems and stop ignoring them.

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    This answer is insufficiently general. For instance, it would make sense to say, "He has his head so far up his ass that he didn't know his own sister had gotten married," although his sister's marriage is presumably not a problem. Commented Aug 28, 2012 at 20:01

The The Concise New Partridge Dictionary of Slang defines it as "[To be] stupid, unaware, uninformed;" I would add, "...especially as a result of self-absorption or arrogance."

Edit: Cf. navel-gazing, a milder way to express almost the same idea using a milder version of almost the same metaphor.

  • +1 for the last sentence. "Head up your arse" specifically means that you are arrogant and self-centred, and that this is the reason for your unawareness.
    – user16269
    Commented Aug 28, 2012 at 20:29

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