I'm sure that's it. It means a small ass, but I cannot see what is offensive about a term for a diminutive mammal. Here is a lovely asinello from the internet. I tried to search for the English phrase, but for some odd reason, a Google search did not reveal any pictures of actual asinelli. And that is before I turned safesearch off.
No one knows where this word comes from but it has spread all over Europe. Most dictionaries claim most of these words come via Latin, but I don't know if there is any evidence that the Germans or Celts got it from there. There was jus an enormous bias towards derivations from 'posh' languages like Latin.
Wiktionary list all these descendants for the Latin word:
Franco-Provençal: âno Italian: asino Lombard: asen Ligurian: âze Old French: asne Middle French: asne French: âne Norman: âne Walloon: ågne → Old Norse: asni Faroese: asni Icelandic: asni Elfdalian: åsn Norwegian: asen → Northern Sami: ásen Old Swedish: asne, asni Swedish: åsna → Finnish: aasi Old Occitan: asne Catalan: ase Occitan: asne Old Portuguese: asno Galician: asno Portuguese: asno Old Spanish: Spanish: asno → Cebuano: asno Romanian: asin, asân Romansch: asen, asan, esan Sardinian: àinu Sicilian: àsinu Venetian: àxeno → Celtic: Brythonic: Breton: azen Old Cornish: asen Welsh: asyn Old Irish: asan Middle Irish: asan, assan → Old English: assen, assa Middle English: as, ass, asse English: ass → Samoan: asini
Interesting. I have been doing a bit more analysis a year after I posted.
Firstly, though, no one said this was the main word. They simply listed it as a word that was derived from Latin asinus. But in fact the English ass is much the same. You are more likely to hear about Jesus riding on an ass, but you are more likely to see a donkey in a field in the 21st century.
There is a separate list of words they claim are derived from Latin asellus 'small or young ass or donkey', which is, if you follow the links,
Old Irish: asal (see there for further descendants)
- (descendants not listed)
- East Slavic: Old East Slavic: осьлъ (osĭlŭ) Belarusian: асёл (asjól) Russian: осёл (osjól), осёлъ (osjól) → Eastern Mari: осёл (osël) → Kildin Sami: о̄ссел (ōssʹel) → Udmurt: осёл (osjol) → Yakut: осёл (osyol) Rusyn: осел (osel) Ukrainian: осе́л (osél) South Slavic: Old Church Slavonic: Old Cyrillic: осьлъ (osĭlŭ) Bulgarian: осел (osel) Serbo-Croatian: Cyrillic: о̏сао (ȍsao) Slovene: ósəł West Slavic: Czech: osel Kashubian: òseł, osoł Polish: osioł, osieł Slovak: osol Sorbian: Lower Sorbian: wósoł Upper Sorbian: wosoł
Proto-West Germanic: *asil
- Old English: esol Old Frisian: *esel North Frisian: eesel Saterland Frisian: Íezel West Frisian: ezel Old Saxon: esil Middle Low German: esel Low German: Esel Plautdietsch: Äsel → Danish: æsel → Estonian: eesel (or from German) → Norwegian: esel → Polabian: asål Old Dutch: esil Middle Dutch: ēsel Dutch: ezel Afrikaans: esel → Sotho: esele → Xhosa: i-esile → English: easel Negerhollands: esel Limburgish: aezel Old High German: esil Middle High German: esel Alemannic German: Esel Cimbrian: éezel Central Franconian: Essel German: Esel → Estonian: eesel (or from Middle Low German) → Lower Sorbian: ezel → Tok Pisin: esel Luxembourgish: Iesel Rhine Franconian: Pennsylvania German: Esel Yiddish: אייזל (eyzl)
Gothic:[Gothic text removed as Duolingo threw a fit and went on strike] (asilus)
- (possibly) Proto-Slavic: *osьlъ (see there for further descendants)
So we have as well as all the SN terms, a whole heap of SL terms which they claim come from the diminutive in Latin. This is the usual form in a big range of languages throughout Germanic, Slavic and Celtic, and I find the idea that this widespread term, in an area where Latin influence on basic vocabulary was weak, and where these non-diminutive terms allegedly come from a Latin diminutive, quite preposterous.
It seems that the SN term was the Latin term, and the first translators of the Norrwegian Bible may well have chosen to use the more Latiny term, but the everyday term was probably the SL one, like in neighbouring languages and language groups, not directly related to Latin.
I put my money on the SL and SN terms having diverged long before Latin existed.
8 letters is correct.... however my term symbolised more the temperament that an asal can often have, sounds similar to asal and can also be used to describe rather unpleasant nasty people. In short, my humour was being very childish in that moment!
On a seperate note, duo accepts the term ass in addition to donkey here.
No - the point is that ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤ must refer to an 8-letter word as they use one ❤ per letter. Therefore there must have been a r as the second letter. The version with an s second letter is a taboo replacement - that is a politer word has been used to replace the word that Duo does not like. And this is where all the trouble started. This innocent 3-letter word for an animal has become an alternative spelling for a 4-letter word that Duo does not like - and hence the 7-letter word has become a replacement for the 8-letter word.
I had not realized how rare the version with an r is in America until I looked at an Ngram.
But as I say, the version with an s is just a respelling of the version with an r.
But it has now got even more confusing, since this confusion between the 7- and 8-letter words has now resulted in us in the UK using the 4-letter word to mean 'someone who is as stupid a donkey', which does not actually make sense.
And notice that not everyone in the UK puts an s in realized. The z (called /zed/) is used by traditionalists in words made by adding -ized to another word, such as realized and Americanized, but not in words with other etymologies such as analysed which comes from analysis. But each to their own. No variety of English has logical spelling.