Green’s Dictionary of Slang

sass (out) v.

also sass around, sass back, sass off, sass up
[sass n.]

(US) to answer back, to cheek; to tease.

Continental Mthly I 195/1: He hab swore a blue streak at him, and called him a d— ab’lishener, jess ’cause Massa K wudn’t get mad and sass him back.
[US]H.L. Williams N.-Y. After Dark 32: Somebody been a sassing you and you want him smashed?
[US]H.B. Stowe Poganuc People 80: If any of them Democrats ‘sassed’ him he’d give ’em as good as they sent.
[US]G.W. Peck Peck’s Bad Boy and His Pa (1887) 50: He was going to sass the man, when I told Pa the man was a lunatic from the asylum.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 24 July 14/2: Such a thing as an umpire ‘sassing back’ was unheard of.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 5 Nov. 12/4: Then Jehu followed the lady and her cavalier to the barracks, where he was sassed within an inch of his life, and very soon his licence was suspended for a month.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 2 Aug. 22/3: I was too sick with opoponax to ‘sass back,’ or analyse his eloquence. The German gutturals fell in thunderstorms of artillery from his lips.
[UK]Mirror of Life 27 Jan. 15/3: Bessie Bellwood’s [...] speciality is what is known in bucolic circles as ‘sassin’ back’.
[US]O. Wister Jimmyjohn Boss and Other Stories 5: Und if der peoples vas to hear you sass old Max Vogel in dis style they would say, ‘Poor old Max’.
[US]J. Washburn Und. Sewer 31: Often we would be caught selling [beer]. Then it would be from $50.00 to $100.00 and costs for the ‘keeper’ and the usual fine for the girls, unless they ‘sassed’; then they also got $50.00.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 24 Oct. 11/4: The wonder is that death could get a man like that down at the age of 63, but perhaps he had sassed the Destroyer so often that the latter grew angry, and made a special effort.
[US]Sun (NY) 11 Feb. 11/4: He sassed me an’ I slapped his face.
[US]M.C. Sharpe Chicago May (1929) 39: ‘I won’t shut up.’ I sassed back at the judge.
[US]Thurman & Rapp Harlem in Coll. Writings (2003) 350: Don’ you stan’ dere an’ sass Ma.
[US]L. Hughes Mulatto in Three Negro Plays (1969) Act I: He sassed out Miss Gray in the post office over a box of radio tubes that come by mail.
[US]J. Archibald ‘Meat Bawl’ in Popular Detective Aug. 🌐 Git your hat and coat, cowface [...] I told you oncet to stop sassin’ up a high-class joint.
[US]N. Algren ‘El Presidente de Méjico’ in Texas Stories (1995) 84: And let a greaser sass him / He was shore to feel his steel.
[SA]H.C. Bosman Cold Stone Jug (1981) II 79: The discipline-screws didn’t let up one moment in sassing us around.
[US] (ref. to 1860s) S. Longstreet Pedlocks (1971) 31: Every week, Betsy [...] would leave the house in the bend of Church Street, a five-dollar coin in her mouth, shaking her behind at George, the coloured butler, and sassing the indoor ‘niggers’ who hated her as they hated all field hands.
[US]D. Burley N.Y. Amsterdam News 23 Nov. 13: Anyone with a white face [...] could get Sambo or Rastus strung up [...] by merely whispering that sam or Ras had ‘sassed’ him .
[US]C. Brown Manchild in the Promised Land (1969) 28: What I tole you about sassin’ ole people?
[US]A. Brooke Last Toke 186: Hurt mo’ ’n you arm you be sassin’ me!
[US](con. 1967) E. Spencer Welcome to Vietnam (1989) 19: I’d hit a guy if he sassed me.
[UK]L. Theroux Call of the Weird (2006) 128: She’s also sassed a client.
[US]J. Stahl Happy Mutant Baby Pills 164: Her grandmother used to beat her with her Indian moccasin, then shove it in her mouth for ‘sassing off’.
[UK]‘Aidan Truhen’ Price You Pay 274: Price seriously what do you care so long as you get to do appalling things and sass people and get laid?