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1. verb, slang To defeat someone or something decisively. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "kick" and "butt." We weren't prepared for that game, and the other team kicked our butts.
2. verb, slang To physically attack one; to beat one up. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "kick" and "butt." I'll kick your butt if I ever see you talking to my girlfriend again.
3. verb, slang To be very effective or successful. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is not used between "kick" and "butt." This new strategy is really kicking butt and keeping the groundhogs away from my vegetable garden!
4. verb, slang To be excellent or exceptional. That movie kicked butt! All movies should be like that!
5. verb, slang To motivate one or shock one out of complacency. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "kick" and "butt." The professor's speech today kind of kicked my butt and made me realize I need to start applying myself.
6. adjective, slang Excellent or exceptional; awesome. In this usage, the phrase is hyphenated. That was a pretty kick-butt roller coaster.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
kick (some/somebody’s) ˈass/ˈbutt(taboo, slang, American English) act in a very firm, controlling or aggressive manner: Now let’s kick some butt! ▶ ˈkick-ass adj. (taboo, slang, American English) very good: a kick-ass rock band
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
See kick ass
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
Enforce one’s authority, strongly assert oneself. Both versions of this vulgar term seem to have originated in the mid-1900s in the military, where they meant to defeat overwhelmingly, and soon entered the civilian vocabulary. The latter, only slightly more polite, was used by President George H.W. Bush during the Persian Gulf War, when he referred to “kicking a little you-know-what” (cited by Paul Dickson).
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer