Kiss Ass or Kiss Butt, to

kiss someone’s butt/ass
kiss arse

Meaning of Idiom ‘Kiss Ass’

To kiss ass or kiss butt is to curry favor by using flattery or affecting a fawning, servile attitude, being overly agreeable, etc. 1Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.,2Pare, May. Body Idioms and More: For Learners of English. United States?: Mayuree Pare, 2005.

Butt-kisser is a synonym for toady, meaning a person who behaves obsequiously to an important person.

See related idiom brown nose.

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A person who kisses ass (or kisses butt) is an asskisser or kiss-ass.

Sometimes a person’s name or a pronoun is used with the idiom verb kiss ass, as in “The boss loves it when people kiss his ass.”

There is more rarely used variant, ass-licker.

Examples of Use

“You shouldn’t have to kiss ass to be successful, but it seems like asskissers get their way a lot of the time.”

“If I have to kiss butt to get a raise then I guess I will not get a raise.”

“Terry is a such a kissass. You should see the way she acts with Victoria.”

“They say you have to kiss a publisher’s butt to get published, which is why I publish all my books independently.”


The original version of this idiom was kiss arse, which is still used in Britain today. It was first recorded in 1705. 1

There are many related idioms used all over the world, such as boot-licker and foot-licker.

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