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See also: bad-ass



Alternative forms


bad +‎ ass



badass (plural badasses)

  1. (US, slang, negative connotation, vulgar) A mean or belligerent person; a person with unpleasantly extreme attitudes, behavior or appearance.
    • 1999, Robert Girardi, Madeleine's Ghost, ↑ISBN:
      “There are badasses, and there are badasses. Dothan is one of the latter, from a family full of badasses. I'm not saying he isn't a decent sort. He's fully rational, not like his brother Curtis. But Christ, when the sombitch gets mad ...”
    • 2013, Ilsa J. Bick, Drowning Instinct, ↑ISBN:
      A survival tactic I learned on the psych ward was how to quickly size up potential enemies or garden-variety badasses.
    • 2014, Susan Nussbaum, Good Kings, Bad Kings, ↑ISBN, page 222:
      You're a badass but you ain't no criminal.
    • 2015, Michael Shermer, The Moral Arc: How Science Makes Us Better People, ↑ISBN, page 59:
      Of course, to maintain a reputation that you are a badass, you actually have to occasionally be a badass, so pirates intermittently engaged in violence, reports of which they happily provided to newspaper editors, who duly published them in gory and exaggerated detail.
    Don't mess with that guy, he's a real badass.
  2. (US, youth slang, positive connotation, vulgar) A person considered impressive due to toughness, courage, and skill.
    • 2008, Vince Flynn, Memorial Day, ↑ISBN:
      Men and women from the CIA's Directorate of Operations (DO) would return from Afghanistan and tell stories about Task Force 11, an amalgamation of Special Forces badasses from the various branches of the U.S. military.
    • 2009, Jason Flores-Williams, The Last Stand of Mr America, ↑ISBN, page 124:
      The Oakland Raiders are one of the few teams that I have any feelings for besides the Steelers. Nowadays they're a bunch of wannabe badasses, but back in the day they were something to behold.
    • 2013, Scott McEwen & ‎Thomas Koloniar, Sniper Elite: One-Way Trip: A Novel, ↑ISBN, page 14:
      Known throughout the Spec-Ops community as the best of the best, they were the go-to badasses in the air for the go-to badasses on the ground, and Sandra was the first female pilot to be made a member.
    • 2017 December 1, Tom Breihan, “Mad Max: Fury Road might already be the best action movie ever made”, in The Onion AV Club[1]:
      Theron is an absolute badass in the role: hard, intense, quietly vulnerable, in charge at almost every moment. She fights Mad Max to a standstill even though she’s only got one arm. She takes his rifle and shoots out the light of the Bullet Farmer’s car when Max can’t do it.



badass (comparative more badass, superlative most badass)

  1. (US, slang, vulgar) Having extreme appearance, attitude, or behavior that is considered admirable.
    • 2011, Laura Dave, The First Husband: A Novel, ↑ISBN, page 95:
      I sat down across from him. "Not a good moment to start with me about it," I said. "Who's starting with you? It's badass." It took me only half a second to see that he was serious. "Completely badass."
    • 2012, James R. Tuck, Spider's Lullaby, ↑ISBN:
      She's dressed in badass black and the barest amount of chrome that is acceptable.
    • 2013, Katya Armock, To Growl or to Groan, ↑ISBN:
      So stop with the pity party. You really are pretty badass right about now.
    That tough guy looks badass.
  2. (US, slang, vulgar) Troublesome and belligerent.
    • 2006, Cupcake Brown, A Piece of Cake: A Memoir, ↑ISBN, page 21:
      Probably because he was a junior high school teacher and was around badass, hollerin kids all day.
    • 2009, Gary C. King, Butcher, ↑ISBN:
      [There were] lots of really, really bad, badass people.... I did not want to be a part of it.
    • 2015, Colin Quinn, The Coloring Book: A Comedian Solves Race Relations in America, ↑ISBN:
      I worked at one bar on the Upper East Side that was owned by a famous Irish badass thug everyone was scared of.

Usage notes

  • See cool (senses 3-7).
  • Compare wicked (sense 2)
  • See bad (etymology 2)


Derived terms