by Don  

Warning! This entry is slightly vulgar.

Despite the sound of the word осёл, it has no connection to the English “asshole.” Instead it means “donkey.” The word is grammatically spiteful in that the ё is a fleeting vowel, and the word is end-stressed:


Another English word for donkey is ass. In English it's not uncommon to call a person an ass if he is rude or obnoxious. Like English Russian also can use осёл to label a person, but it means something different: «Он такой осёл» “He is so stupid.” Sometimes in English we say "He is as stubborn as a mule." A mule, by the way, is the sterile offspring of a female horse and a male donkey. In Russian if you want to say someone is really stubborn, you might say, «Он такой баран», literally “He is such a ram.” I don't advise saying that, though. It's pretty rude.

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