The word asshole in North American English or arsehole in all other major varieties of the English language , is a vulgarism to describe the anus , and often used pejoratively as a type of synecdoche to refer to people. The metaphorical use of the word to refer to the worst place in a region e. Its earliest known usage in newspaper as an insult was By the s, Hustler magazine featured people they did not like as "Asshole of the Month. Until the early s, the word was considered one of a number of words that could not be uttered on commercial television in the United States. By , however, vulgarity had become more acceptable, and the word was featured in dialog on the long-running television series NYPD Blue , though it has yet to become anything close to commonplace on network TV. In some broadcast edits such as the syndication airings of South Park , the word is partially bleeped out, as "assh—".