|give a rat's ass
||[Nov. 4th, 2008|11:11 pm]
Historical Origins of English Words and Phrases
give a rat's ass
-There is very little information as to the exact origins of today's phrase, which is a courser way of saying that you don't care at all about the subject in question. There are many versions of this phrase with different animals/people and possessions, but it seems that the oldest one is give a Tinker's cuss. After this was don't give a monkey's toss, toss being ejaculate, which may have come from sailor slang. This branched into different forms, one being the shorter don't give a toss, and others that were less crude: monkey's uncle, monkey's butt, monkey's fart, etc... At this point, people seemed to run with the idea and created a variety of these expressions with different animals, including today's don't give a rat's ass. There is also a more recent (at least mid-20th century) and cruder expression along the lines of don't give a flying f**k. It seems that the only guidelines in coming up with this type of expression are that the words sound good strung together and that it be somewhat crude.
All of this information is based on very minimal data (there really just isn't too much out there) so I can't promise that there isn't some error in the historicity of this post.