Not give a damn



verb phrase

(Variations: dang or darn or dern or durn or diddly-damn or diddly-shit or flying fuck or fuck or hill of beans or hoot or piss or vrat’s assx or rat’s behind or rat’s rump or rip or shit or spit or squat or two hoots in hell may replace damn) To be indifferent to or contemptuous of; not care one whit: I don’t give a damn what they do to me/ Nobody gave a flying fuck who their influences were/ When do celebrities give a hoot about people who interview them?/ We all busted up because George didn’t give a rat’s ass/ The average American child does not give a rip about O J Simpson/ Me, I don’t give a shit, high road, low road, I go either way/ Anyway, who gives a fuck, actually? (entry form 1895+, fuck 1929+, hill of beans 1863+, hoot 1878+, rip 1940s+)
Also, not give a fig or hang or hoot or rap or shit. Not care about, be indifferent to, as in I don’t give a damn about him, or She doesn’t give a fig if he comes or not. The nouns in all these terms signify something totally worthless. Although probably in oral use for much longer, damn is first recorded in this negative form in the late 1700s and the worthless item it is used to denigrate is a curse. Fig has denoted something small and worthless since about 1400, and hang since the mid-1800s; hoot has been used for the smallest particle since the later 1800s; rap, also for the smallest particle, since the first half of the 1800s, and shit, for excrement, since about 1920. All but the first of these terms are colloquial and the last (using shit) is vulgar.

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  • Not give someone the time of day

    verb phrase Not do the slightest favor for; not greet or speak to; have contempt for: Like him? I wouldn’t give that bastard the time of day [1593+; the dated instance, from Shakespeare, is not in the negative] Ignore someone, refuse to pay the slightest attention to someone, as in He’s tried to be friendly […]

  • Not half bad

    see: not bad



  • Not have a bean

    Be destitute or penniless, as in He doesn’t have a bean, but she’s set on marrying him. Bean has been a slang term for a guinea or a sovereign coin since the early 1800s. The precise expression was first recorded in 1928.

  • Not have an earthly chance

    Also, stand no earthly chance. Have no chance whatever, as in She doesn’t have an earthly chance of getting into medical school, or Bill stands no earthly chance of winning the lottery. The use of no earthly in the sense of “no conceivable” dates from the mid-1700s.



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