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Buttocks
Human buttocks.jpg
Buttocks of a female (upper) and a male (lower).
Latin Clunis
Artery superior gluteal artery, inferior gluteal artery
Nerve superior gluteal nerve, inferior gluteal nerve, superior cluneal nerves, medial cluneal nerves, inferior cluneal nerves
MeSH Buttocks

The buttocks (singular: buttock) are two rounded portions of the anatomy, located on the posterior of the pelvic region of apes and humans, and many other bipeds or quadrupeds, and comprise a layer of fat superimposed on the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius muscles. Physiologically, the buttocks enable weight to be taken off the feet while sitting. In many cultures, they play a role in sexual attraction.[1] Many cultures have also used them as a safe target for corporal punishment.[2] There are several connotations of buttocks in art, fashion, culture and humor, and the English language is replete with many popular synonyms. In humans they are located between the lower back and the perineum.

Anatomy[edit]

The buttocks are formed by the masses of the gluteal muscles or "glutes" (the gluteus maximus muscle and the gluteus medius muscle) superimposed by a layer of fat. The superior aspect of the buttock ends at the iliac crest, and the lower aspect is outlined by the horizontal gluteal crease. The gluteus maximus has two insertion points: 13 superior portion of the linea aspera of the femur, and the superior portion of the iliotibial tractus. The masses of the gluteus maximus muscle are separated by an intermediate intergluteal cleft or "crack" in which the anus is situated.

The buttocks allow primates to sit upright without needing to rest their weight on their feet as four-legged animals do. Females of certain species of baboon have red buttocks that blush to attract males. In the case of humans, females tend to have proportionally wider and thicker buttocks due to higher subcutaneous fat and proportionally wider hips.

Some baboons and all gibbons, though otherwise fur-covered, have characteristic naked callosities on their buttocks. While human children generally have smooth buttocks, mature males and females have varying degrees of hair growth, as on other parts of their body. Females may have hair growth in the gluteal cleft (including around the anus), sometimes extending laterally onto the lower aspect of the cheeks. Males may have hair growth over some or all of the buttocks.

Society and culture[edit]

Connotations[edit]

Students at Stanford University conduct a "mass-mooning" in May 1995

The English word of Greek origin "callipygian" indicates someone who has beautiful buttocks. However, the qualities that make buttocks beautiful or well-formed are not fixed, as sexual aesthetics of the buttocks vary considerably from culture to culture, from one period of fashion to another and even from person to person.

Depending on the context, exposure of the buttocks in non-intimate situations can cause feelings of embarrassment or humiliation, and embarrassment or amusement in an onlooker (see pantsing).

Willfully exposing one's own bare buttocks as a protest, a provocation, or just for fun is called mooning.

In many punitive traditions, the buttocks are a common target for corporal punishment, which can be meted out with no risk of long-term physical harm compared with the dangers of applying it to other parts of the body, such as the hands, which could easily be damaged.[3] The buttocks have often been described as "the place provided by nature" for this purpose.[2]

In Western and some other cultures, many comedians, writers and others rely on the buttocks as a source of amusement, camaraderie and fun.

In American English, phrases use the buttocks or synonyms (especially "butt" and "ass") as a synecdoche or pars pro toto for a whole person, often with a negative connotation. For example, terminating an employee may be described as "firing his ass". One might say "move your ass" or "haul ass" as an exhortation to greater haste or urgency. Expressed as a function of punishment, defeat or assault becomes "kicking one's ass". Such phrases also may suggest a person's characteristics, e.g. difficult people are termed "hard asses". In America an annoying person or any source of frustration may be termed "a pain in the ass" (a synonym for "a pain in the neck"). People deemed excessively puritanical or proper may be termed "tight asses" (in Australia and New Zealand, "tight arse" refers to someone who is excessively miserly).

Certain physical dispositions of the buttocks—particularly size—are sometimes identified, controversially, as a racial characteristic (see race). The most famous intersection of racism and buttocks may be the case of Saartjie Baartman, the so-called Hottentot Venus.

Synonyms[edit]

See WikiSaurus:buttocks for a list of synonyms and slang words for buttocks in many languages. For unrelated homophones of butt(ocks), see also butt (disambiguation) and bud (disambiguation)
Seattle's naked cyclists with painted buttocks
Japanese man in a traditional swimwear Fundoshi-rokushaku

The Latin name for the buttocks is nates (modern pronunciation /ˈntz/ NAY-teez,[4] classical pronunciation nătes NAH-tayz[5]) which is plural; the singular, natis (buttock), is rarely used. There are many colloquial terms to refer to them, including:

  • backside, posterior, behind and its derivates (hind-quarters, hinder or the childish homophone heinie (US usage only), strictly the whole body behind the hind leg-trunk attachment), rear or rear-end, derrière (French for "behind")—all strictly positional descriptions, as the inaccurate use of rump (as in 'rump roast', after a 'hot' spanking), thighs, upper legs; analogous are:
    • aft, stern and poop, naval in origin; in nautical jargon, buttocks also designates the aftermost portion of a hull above the water line and in front of the rudder, merging with the run below the water line
    • caboose, originally a ship's galley in wooden cabin on deck; also the "rear end" car of a freight train, considered a cute synonym suitable for any audience
    • bottom (and the shortening "bot" as well as childish diminutives "bottie" or "botty"), but the use of similar-sounding booty is artistic liberty[citation needed]
    • tail (strictly anatomically a zoomorphism, humans only have a tail-bone, yet the illogical "tail feather" was popularized by musicians; also used for the even more sensual phallus) and tail-end
    • trunk, in American English, particularly when describing large buttocks: "junk in the trunk"
  • apple, referring to the similar shape of the fruit, derived from the 1970s. Also likened to an upside-down heart, attributed from various, popular ads of the 1970s.
  • arse or ass, arsehole or asshole, and (butt-)hole: a pars pro toto (strictly only the actual body cavity and directly adjoining anal region); also used as an insult for a person. The term arse or ass is Anglo-Saxon, and over a thousand years old.
  • badonkadonk: onomatopoeic US slang meaning the voluptuously bouncing, large yet firm buttocks of a woman
  • booty
  • breech, a metaphorical sense derived from on older form of the garment breeches (as the French culotte meaning pantoloons, via cul from Latin culus 'butt'), so 'bare breech' means without breeches, i.e. trouserless butt
  • bum: in British English, used frequently in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and many other English speaking Commonwealth countries, also historically in U.S., is a mild often humorous term for buttocks, not necessarily in a vulgar or sexual context: "I've a boil on my bum, thrice as large as my thumb" (The Judge With The Sore Rump, St. George Tucker). A bum boy is an insulting term for a male homosexual.
  • bumpy: a euphemistic term for the buttocks, used primarily with children
  • buns, from Gaelic bun "bottom, base", mounds (cfr. Butte, a geographical mound, known since 1805 in American English, from (Old) French butte "mound, knoll") and orbs—shape-metaphors.
  • bund: derived from Punjabi
  • bunda: bottom, of Brazilian Portuguese origin.
  • butt: the common term for a pair of buttocks in the US (singular, as one body-part; cognate but neither its root nor an abbreviation), used in everyday speech.
  • cakes: slang word for buttocks
  • can (a container) had an unusual development: the slang meaning "toilet" is recorded c. 1900, said to be a shortening of piss-can, the meaning "buttocks" from c. 1910, and the verb meaning "fire an employee" (to flush=dump?) from 1905.
  • cheeks, a shape-metaphor within human anatomy, but also used in the singular: left cheek and right cheek; sounds particularly naughty because of the homonym and the adjective cheeky, lending themselves to word puns
  • culo: (From Spanish/Italian) slang, usually meaning a woman's voluptuous, round and firm buttocks. Derived from a term for booty; in Spanish the term is considered vulgar and offensive, but less so in Spain than in Latin America.
  • duffs: Ulster Irish origin
  • dumper sometimes denotes the buttocks, especially when they are large.
  • fanny: a socially acceptable term in print, in Canada and the United States at least, for many years before some of the bolder terms came along; and a subject of jokes, since "Fannie" can be a woman's name, diminutive of "Frances"; however, in British English fanny refers to the female genitals or vulva and is considered vulgar. The figure of a bare-bottomed lass named Fanny is ubiquitous in Provence (the southeast of France) wherever pétanque is played: traditionally when a player loses 13 to 0 it is said that “il est fanny” (he's fanny), and he has to kiss the bottom of a girl called Fanny; as there is rarely an obliging Fanny, there is always a substitute picture, woodcarving or pottery so that Fanny’s bottom is always available.[6]
  • fourth point of contact: in military slang, because of the sequence of textbook parachute jump landing
  • fundament (literally "foundation", not common in this general sense in English, but for the buttocks since 1297)
  • Gand or Gaand: a Hindi derivate
  • hams, like buttocks generally as a plural, after the meat cut from the analogous part of a hog ; pressed ham refers to mooning against a window; brawn, a singular derived from the Frankish for ham or roast, is also used for both a muscular body part (but either on arms or legs) or boar meat, especially roast
  • hurdies: Scots, origin unknown, also applied to the whole rump
  • haunches
  • moon was a common shape-metaphor for the butt in English since 1756, and the verb to moon meant 'to expose to (moon)light' since 1601, long before they were combined in US student slang in the verb (al expression) mooning "to flash the buttocks" in 1968.
  • prat (British English, origin unknown; as in pratfall, a music hall term; also a term of abuse for a person)
  • seat (of the trousers; or metaphorically): another long-standing socially acceptable term, referring to the use for sitting—but compare the sarcastic use of seat of wisdom and similar expressions, such as 'seat of learning', referring to use as target for an 'educational' spanking.
  • sit-upon; has various independent counterparts in other languages, e.g. Dutch zitvlak ('sitting plain'), German Gesäß Italian sedere
  • six; in military terminology, particularly in the U.S. Navy, it refers to the term "six o'clock", i. e. a point directly behind the referenced person.
  • tocus: Yidish.
  • tush or tushy (from the Yiddish language "tuchis" or "tochis" meaning "under" or "beneath")
  • ultimatum (Latin, literally 'the furthest part') was used in slang c.1820s.

Related terms[edit]

  • The word "callipygian" is sometimes used to describe someone with notably attractive buttocks. The term comes from the Greek kallipygos, (first used for the Venus Kallipygos) which literally means "beautiful buttocks"; the prefix is also a root of "calligraphy" (beautiful writing) and "calliope" (beautiful voice); callimammapygian means having both beautiful breasts and buttocks.
  • Both the English (in) tails and the Dutch billentikker ('tapping the buttocks') are ironic terms for very formal coats with a significantly longer tail end as part of festive (especially wedding party) dress
  • Macropygia means 'heaving large buttocks, hindquarter', and occurs in biological species names,
  • A pygopag(ous) (from the Greek pygè 'buttock' and pagein 'attached') was a monster in Ancient (Greek) mythology consisting of two bodies joint by common buttocks, now a medical term for 'Siamese' twins thus joint back-to-back
  • Pygophilia is sexual arousal or excitement caused by seeing, playing with or touching the buttocks; people who have strong attraction to buttocks are called pygophilists.
  • Pygoscopia means observing someone's rear; pygoscopophobia a pathological fear to be its unwilling object
  • Pygalgia is soreness in the buttocks, i.e. a pain in the rump.
  • Steatopygia is a marked accumulation of fat in and around the buttocks.
  • Uropygial in ornithology means situated on or belonging to the uropygium, i.e. the rump of a bird.
  • "Bubble butt" has at least two connotations, which are at odds with each other: either a small, round and firm pair of buttocks resembling a pair of soap bubbles next to each other, or a large rear end, seemingly about to burst from the strain. In both cases, the term implies an appealing shapeliness about the buttocks.

Fashion[edit]

The 1880s were well-known for the fashion trend among women called the bustle, which made even the smallest buttocks appear huge. The popularity of this fashion is shown in the famous Georges Seurat painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte in the two women to the far left and right. Like long underwear with the ubiquitous 'butt flap' (used to allow baring only the bottom with a simple gesture, as for hygiene), this clothing style was acknowledged in popular media such as cartoons and comics for generations afterward.

More recently, the cleavage of the buttocks is sometimes exposed by some women, deliberately or accidentally, as fashion dictated trousers be worn lower, as with hip-hugger pants.

An example of another attitude in an otherwise hardly exhibitionist culture is the Japanese fundoshi.

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ Hennig, Jean-Luc (1995). The rear view: A brief and elegant history of bottoms through the ages. London: Souvenir. ISBN 0-285-63303-1. 
  2. ^ a b "Police.". The Times (London). 22 March 1894. ""Mr. Curtis Bennett deprecated caning on the hands and boxing the ears, and said they were exceedingly dangerous forms of punishment. Nature provided a special place for boys to be punished upon and it should be used." 
  3. ^ Zeno Chicarilli, M.D. et al. "Corporal Punishment to Children's Hands: A Statement by Medical Authorities as to the Risks". NoSpank.net. 3 January 2002.
  4. ^ "nates - Definitions from Dictionary.com". 
  5. ^ A New Dictionary of the Latin and English Languages, published Ward, Lock & Co., London, 1908 name="WardLock"
  6. ^ "Pétanque. La Fanny, Légende". Laboulebleue.fr. Retrieved 2011-12-18. 
  7. ^ "Hong Kong Lifestyle Brand G.O.D. Puts The "Moon" In Mooncakes". Jing Daily. 29 August 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2012. 
Sources

External links[edit]



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FOX 29

KSAT San Antonio
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 05:33:45 -0700

Officers arrived and said a man in his early 20s had been shot twice in the buttocks. About six witnesses inside the home said a silver Ford Expedition or Ford Explorer drove by the home and someone inside opened fire. However, SAPD officials said ...

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Wed, 23 Apr 2014 17:22:30 -0700

And now for Part 2 of our interview with Board Certified Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon Dr. Gregory Wiener on butt augmentations. Get all the details straight from an expert: Dr. Weiner, what does the surgery entail? Is there pain involved and a ...

India.Com Health

India.Com Health
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 05:28:53 -0700

exercise for buttocks Men may not bother about it so much but women are often worried about their derriere. Ask a group of women if they like their butt and more often than not you will find them complain – it's too big, too small, not round enough ...

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The Patriot-News
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 06:41:15 -0700

A man was shot in the buttocks late Monday night during what Lebanon City Police believe was a robbery attempt. Officers were called to the 1200 block of Willow Street just before midnight after receiving a report about a disturbance in the area. When ...
 
The News Journal
Mon, 21 Apr 2014 11:33:35 -0700

SHARE 3 CONNECTTWEET 2 COMMENTEMAILMORE. A 43-year-old Milford man faces four counts of indecent exposure after revealing his buttocks and genitals on April 12, police said Monday. Brian L. Tunnell was charged following the incident outside a ...
 
NBC 6 South Florida
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 03:30:00 -0700

A man who was cleaning his gun ended up accidentally shooting himself in the buttocks in Hollywood, police said. The incident happened Sunday as the man, who is in his 20s, was cleaning the .38 caliber handgun at his home in the 3300 block of Forrest ...

BBC News

BBC News
Sat, 19 Apr 2014 16:15:00 -0700

The demand for bigger buttocks in Venezuela means some women will even have banned injections to achieve them, putting their health at risk. It is with tears in her eyes that Denny recounts how she woke up one day to find a bump the size of a football ...

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myfox8.com
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SYTACUSE, N.Y. – A New York doctor is accused of slapping anesthetized patients on the buttocks and called them derogatory names before surgery. Syracuse.com reported that Dr. Michael T. Clarke is accused of slapping some patients so hard that he ...
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