Friday, June 29, 2012

ALOTT5MA USAGE DESK: Spurred by many reviews of Magic Mike, what are our thoughts on the phrase "assless chaps?"  Per Wikipedia®, "unlike trousers they have no seat," which means that chaps are, by definition, assless.  We must stomp out this redundancy!


  1. bristlesage1:53 PM

    I use the phrase "assless chaps" to indicate that someone is using the garment for sexual/entertainment purposes, just "chaps" if they're using them during ranch/horse work. "Assless" is redundant as far as describing the garment but can be useful to place the garment's context.

    I was a barrel racer growing up, if that's a useful data point.

  2. Watts1:54 PM

    I do not support redundancy. Except to say, re: Magic Mike: Take it off. Take it ALL off.

  3. christy in nyc2:03 PM

    I'm no expert, but I think that if someone told me they were wearing chaps, I'd assume they were wearing them over a pair of jeans, and if they told me they were wearing assless chaps, I'd assume they were NOT wearing them over a pair of jeans.

  4. janet2:40 PM which case they might be assmore chaps.

  5. Tosy and Cosh3:19 PM

    There was a NY Times grammar article several years ago that made a similar point to bristlesage's - that redundancy is allowed if it serves to highlight a particular feature or piece of the reference point. So "assless chaps" makes sense if your goal is to indeed draw the reader's attention to the chaps' asslessness, as opposed to, say, their being made of leather.

  6. "Asslessness" is a great word.  Just wanted to point that out.

  7. isaac_spaceman6:24 PM

    Excellent point.  "Chaps" refers to chaps worn with the intended dungarees, or something else ranch-appropriate.  "Assless chaps" (or, the way we always used to say it, "buttless leather chaps" -- in which the "leather" probably is redundant) refers to the chaps worn without any kind of butt covering at all.  Redundancy check:  somebody says "why is that guy wearing chaps?"  Somebody else says "why is that guy wearing buttless chaps?"  If the image in your head is different in those two scenarios, then there is no redundancy. 

  8. bill.7:54 PM

    I agree with those of you pointing out the usefullnes of "assless" as a chaps modifier. Though it does point out another problem. Assless chaps means chaps without pants meaning one's ass is hanging out and exposed so really it's assfull chaps not assless.

    Just one of those instances when what we say has nothing to do with what we mean, yet everyone just roles with it.

  9. Joseph J. Finn8:35 PM

    No no, the chaps have no ass, not that there is no ass under the chaps.