Open a Can Of Whoop-Ass

Also:

Open a can of whup-ass
Bust open a can of whoop-ass
Open a can of whip-ass

Meaning of Idiom ‘Open a Can of Whoop-Ass’

To whip (someone’s) ass is to punish them or hurt them either physically or verbally or, more often, to beat someone up. Open a can of whoop-ass is a variation of the same idiom. 1Pare, May. Body Idioms and More: For Learners of English. United States?: Mayuree Pare, 2005.,2Dolgopolov, Yuri. A Dictionary of Confusable Phrases: More than 10,000 Idioms and Collocations. McFarland, 2010.

Whoop is a dialectical version of whip, used only in this and similar expressions. It may also be said that someone is going to get an ass-whipping or ass-whooping. This particular idiom is meant to be humorous since it is comical to imagine a can full of ‘ass-whipping.’


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Usage

Opening a can of whoop-ass is often used as a threat. On you may be added to the end, as if one is going to open up the “can of whoop-ass” and the whoop-ass is going to pour all over the intended recipient.

Examples Of Use

“You mess with my brother again and I’ll open a can of whoop-ass on you.”

“What are you doing sitting on my car?” yelled Dirk. “You better get off or I’ll bust open a can of whoop-ass!”

“They call me the can-opener,” said Dad, while preparing to play a video game with Josh. “Why?” said Josh? “Because I open cans of whoop-ass.” “Very funny,” said Josh, not laughing.

Origin

A favorite catch-phrase of professional wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin, this phrase has been in use since at least the 1970s. Its exact origin is unknown, although theories abound. See a discussion on Straight Dope message board.

More Idioms Starting with O

More Ass Idioms

More Can Idioms

More Open Idioms

More Whip Idioms

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Sources   [ + ]

1. Pare, May. Body Idioms and More: For Learners of English. United States?: Mayuree Pare, 2005.
2. Dolgopolov, Yuri. A Dictionary of Confusable Phrases: More than 10,000 Idioms and Collocations. McFarland, 2010.