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no skin off my back [Mar. 9th, 2008|11:28 pm]
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[gwoman]
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no skin off my back
-The original form of this phrase was no skin off my nose, dating back to the early 20th century, but other body parts have been used as well (e.g. elbow, knee, ear.) It essentially means 'no concern to me, not my business, doesn't hurt me at all.' There is not much information about why back became more popular than other parts, though one theory holds that it relates to being whipped, a well-known (if not commonly practiced) form of punishment in English-speaking countries. The link would be that, when one is in a situation that this phrase could describe, it is not causing you any harm and there is no fear of any punishment to oneself.
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[User Picture]From: persiflage_1
2008-03-10 06:52 am (UTC)

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How odd. I've never ever heard this phrase as anything other than "No skin off my nose"...
[User Picture]From: gwoman
2008-03-10 06:57 am (UTC)

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if i understand correctly, it's mainly an Americanism with back. can i ask where you're from?
[User Picture]From: persiflage_1
2008-03-10 07:09 am (UTC)

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Ah ! I'm a Brit.
[User Picture]From: redver
2008-03-10 11:16 am (UTC)

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Same here and I'm English. Oh well, it's no skin off my teeth. ;]
[User Picture]From: persiflage_1
2008-03-10 11:18 am (UTC)

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LOL

It's no skin off my elbows either... :P
[User Picture]From: gwoman
2008-03-10 06:12 pm (UTC)

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lol! we're having way too much fun with this phrase ;)
[User Picture]From: alicornmoon
2008-03-10 07:10 am (UTC)

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I've heard nose more often and I live in California :)
[User Picture]From: gwoman
2008-03-10 07:18 am (UTC)

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hmm, this is interesting. i'm a Californian myself and i've never heard of it with nose before tonight's post. i wonder what other member's will say.
[User Picture]From: alicornmoon
2008-03-10 07:29 am (UTC)

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Well, I don't know if it helps, but both sides of my family are mostly German american :)
[User Picture]From: squeeful
2008-03-10 08:59 am (UTC)

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I'm from California and I don't think I've ever heard it as anything other than "nose".
[User Picture]From: gwoman
2008-03-10 06:13 pm (UTC)

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it seems like this is a phrase where you can insert almost any body part and people will get it!
[User Picture]From: jd_boy
2008-03-10 09:03 am (UTC)

No skin off my ????

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I'm from New Mexico, with family from mostly Southern USA.....and i have mostly heard it with "back."
From: (Anonymous)
2013-12-24 07:21 am (UTC)

Re: No skin off my ????

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Well, believe me when I say that it's no skin off my tip.
[User Picture]From: neverreal
2008-03-10 07:27 am (UTC)

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I was going to say I've only heard it with 'nose' but I'm from Australia and we tend to lean towards British sayings more than anything else.
[User Picture]From: plato_hell
2008-03-10 07:31 am (UTC)

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I'm from New Zealand, and I agree with neverreal. NZ and it's Western Island do lean mostly towards British sayings. Though I've heard it once or twice with "back"
[User Picture]From: gwoman
2008-03-10 06:15 pm (UTC)

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that's good to know. i'll be looking forward to both of your inputs about expressions from that part of the pacific!
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[User Picture]From: gwoman
2008-03-10 06:15 pm (UTC)

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so this obviously isn't following regional trends... i'm getting confused.
[User Picture]From: omnipredation
2008-03-10 08:44 am (UTC)

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i'm with persiflage_1 & others; it wasn't until i moved to the US that I heard this phrase with "back" instead of "nose." personally i think "nose" just sounds better, what with the ending -n of "skin" rolling along into the first consonant of "nose".

now i wonder why on earth the phrase began with nose of all things...!
[User Picture]From: gwoman
2008-03-10 06:16 pm (UTC)

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me too! and i can't seem to find anything on it. i'm beginning to wonder if i should just fork over the money and get a subscription to the OED online. it would really come in handy with this community.
[User Picture]From: omnipredation
2008-03-13 03:41 am (UTC)

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It's probably worth it. My university has an account for registered students in the English department so that's my primary OED access point. I think when I'm no longer a student I'll be paying for access. It's too much fun not to be able to browse... one thing leads to another... and suddenly you arrive at "catoptromancy" and wonder how you got there!
From: (Anonymous)
2013-03-04 01:21 pm (UTC)

Nose

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I might speculate wildly that it might have something to do with if one falls over or bumps into something, the nose is often one of the first things from which skin will be removed as an undesirable outcome.
[User Picture]From: jd_boy
2008-03-10 09:00 am (UTC)

No skin off my back

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Very cool! Thank you.
[User Picture]From: gwoman
2008-03-10 06:17 pm (UTC)

Re: No skin off my back

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my pleasure! thank you!
[User Picture]From: sventhelost
2008-03-10 12:01 pm (UTC)

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Thanks for posting this! I'm from the US, but I've heard "nose" almost exclusively. Then again, I'm from Utah, where many of our expressions are of British origin.
[User Picture]From: gwoman
2008-03-10 06:17 pm (UTC)

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really? is that the case for all of utah or just a certain area? that's pretty cool, though!
[User Picture]From: sventhelost
2008-03-10 07:03 pm (UTC)

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I think most of Utah. A lot of the settlers came from Britain in the mid-to-late 1800s, with a smattering of Swiss, Swedish, and the like. Whenever I hear sayings and slang that's different from most of the US, it seems to often be because it's similar to the UK version.
[User Picture]From: qphelia
2008-03-10 12:35 pm (UTC)

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I'm not sure if you did this phrase before I joined, but I've always wondered about "the skin of one's teeth." Can I put in a request, pretty please with sugar and skinned noses on top?
[User Picture]From: gwoman
2008-03-10 06:19 pm (UTC)

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LOL

added! and i'm really hoping it doesn't have anything to do with a film of plaque or some other poor, dental hygiene. :P
[User Picture]From: electricwine
2008-03-10 08:57 pm (UTC)

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Might I just say that I love this community? It's great!

Might I also put in a request . . . where the heck did "happy-go-lucky" come from, if you don't mind?

Keep up the good work!!
[User Picture]From: gwoman
2008-03-11 01:56 am (UTC)

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added!

and thank you! your icon is fantastic, btw! i'm a huge fan off DDR :)
[User Picture]From: songeuse
2008-03-11 12:33 am (UTC)

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i've only ever heard "back" over here in virginia... i've actually never heard "nose" but "teeth" a few times.

i don't even know if this is english, it probably isn't, but i'm very curious about the origins of the word "rococo" if you wouldn't mind adding that to your list. thanks :)!
[User Picture]From: gwoman
2008-03-11 01:57 am (UTC)

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i'll definitely add that one. were you referring to the architectural style, the musical style, or the adjective?
From: (Anonymous)
2011-03-20 07:05 pm (UTC)

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I've only heard "no skin off my back/teeth" and I'm Canadian.
[User Picture]From: Chad Secksinton
2011-04-29 04:27 pm (UTC)

no skin off my back

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I've heard them all, but I prefer ass.
From: (Anonymous)
2011-08-02 01:35 am (UTC)

Re: no skin off my back

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Heard them all too, but, "No skin off my ass." Is correct. The other's were vane attempts to clean it up.
From: (Anonymous)
2014-04-03 03:54 pm (UTC)

Re: no skin off my back

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Ayn Rand uses the phrase "No skin off my ass" as the name of a fictional play in The Fountainhead 1943.
From: (Anonymous)
2011-11-23 08:51 am (UTC)

Re: no skin off my back

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You must be a biker :-)
From: (Anonymous)
2012-03-14 04:29 pm (UTC)

Re: no skin off my back

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I just used 'nose' in a conversation, reflexively, but I believe I have heard back used as well. 'Teeth' is, I would have thought, a malaprop. The phrase I am familiar with is "by the skin of one's teeth", as in, 'the bullet missed me by the skin of my teeth' (any closer and it would have hit, there being no skin on teeth).
From: (Anonymous)
2013-03-20 03:52 pm (UTC)

Re: no skin off my back

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No skin off my penis
From: (Anonymous)
2013-10-04 11:02 pm (UTC)

Re: no skin off my back

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How about simply: "it's no circumcision"?
From: (Anonymous)
2013-10-15 07:42 pm (UTC)

Re: no skin off my back

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No skin of my nose; may stem from the ancient practice of slitting a person's nose if they had been found to be trying to infiltrate buildings/gatherings or orders which were of no concern to them. (This may have been during periods of religious unrest?)

This practice may also account for another common British saying; don't stick your nose where it doesn't concern you.
From: (Anonymous)
2012-04-06 09:06 pm (UTC)

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I've never heard it with back or nose or anything other than, well,.....donkey?