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Not worth a damn

adjective phrase

: Those promises aren’t worth a damn

adverb phrase

Not well at all: This guy doesn’t sing worth a damn/ She doesn’t like me worth a shit (first form 1817+, second 1920s+)
Also, not worth a plugged nickel or red cent or bean or hill of beans or fig or straw or tinker’s damn . Worthless, as in That car isn’t worth a damn , or My new tennis racket is not worth a plugged nickel . As for the nouns here, a damn or curse is clearly of no great value (also see not give a damn ); a plugged nickel in the 1800s referred to a debased five-cent coin; a cent denotes the smallest American coin, which was red when made of pure copper (1800s); a bean has been considered trivial or worthless since the late 1300s (Chaucer so used it), whereas hill of beans alludes to a planting method whereby four or five beans are put in a mound (and still are worthless); and both fig and straw have been items of no worth since about 1400. A tinker’s dam , first recorded in 1877, was a wall of dough raised around a spot where a metal pipe is being repaired so as to hold solder in place until it hardens, whereupon the dam is discarded. However, tinker’s damn was first recorded in 1839 and probably was merely an intensification of “not worth a damn,” rather than having anything to do with the dam .


Read Also:

  • Not worth a hill of beans

    adjective phrase Worthless; useless (1863+)

  • Not worth a plugged nickel

    adjective phrase Valueless: His word isn’t worth a plugged nickel [1940s+; a plugged coin was counterfeit or had an insertion of inferior metal]

  • No two ways about it

    adverb phrase Clearly; definitely; sure as shit: No two ways about it, this guy is nuts (1818+) No room for difference of opinion, no alternative, as in We have to agree on the nomination, and no two ways about it. [ Early 1800s ]

  • Not wrapped tight

    adjective phrase Crazy; eccentric; not all there, not buttoned up too tightly: Your father was not wrapped real tight. His loaf was missing several slices/ Some MEs, who weren’t wrapped too tightly to begin with [1968+; fr the image of something wrapped neatly without loose ends, spillage, etc]

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