From Iceland — “RASSGAT” - Ragnar Egilsson Explains Words!

“RASSGAT” – Ragnar Egilsson Explains Words!

Published December 15, 2015

“RASSGAT” –  Ragnar Egilsson Explains Words!
Ragnar Egilsson
Photo by
Art Bicnick

So we have a word, which is this word: “rassgat”. It 100% literally means “asshole”, as in “the hole part of the general ass area”. But unlike “asshole” in English, the word is never used to refer to a person that is behaving like a jerk. If someone cuts you off in traffic we don’t scream “rassgat!” out the window. We would use the much milder “fáviti!” [person of limited wits] for that one.

But “rassgat” does have three pretty fun meanings in Icelandic aside from the…you know:

1) It can be used to refer to a place that’s very far away and/or very isolated. Example: “Þetta apótek er lengst útí rassgati” [this pharmacy is far out in the asshole]. It bears some similarities to the UK English phrase “arse-end-of-nowhere” or the US English phrase “middle of Bumblefuck”

2) It can be part of my favorite insult: “Hoppaðu upp í rassgatið á þér” [leap up your own asshole]. This is a vivid and fun way to tell someone to remove themselves and their opinions from your presence, i.e. to “piss off”

3) Strangest yet, is that “rassgat” is a very common way to refer to things that are adorable. Rassgat is basically the closest thing we have to the Japanese word “kawaii”. You’ll find yourself using it to refer to puppies, kittens and tiny widdle baby wabies. Why? Maybe it’s because babies have little scrunched up faces like buttholes? Maybe it’s because they make that “ppffbbrraffrabfhh” sound a lot?

There you have it. Assholes are good for distant places, annoying people, and cute babies. Maybe we could start referring to everything by body parts:

– “That place was totes off the flipping pancreas!”

– “OMG, is that your daughter? Ocular!

– Aw, that’s so epidermis of you!”

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