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Historical Origins of English Words and Phrases - give a rat's ass [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Historical Origins of English Words and Phrases

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give a rat's ass [Nov. 4th, 2008|11:11 pm]
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[gwoman]
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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.


Side note:
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.
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[User Picture]From: theidolhands
2008-11-05 02:06 pm (UTC)

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My mother has always loved this phrase! XD

Don't leave out "...and the horse you rode in on!"

Edited at 2008-11-05 02:08 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]From: gwoman
2008-11-08 10:03 pm (UTC)

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ooh i've never heard that part! do you add it in after "give a rat's ass" or the like?
[User Picture]From: theidolhands
2008-11-09 01:48 am (UTC)

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Oh, if a person is very arrogant/loud/pompous then the insult follows: "F*ck you and the horse you road in on!"

Fits very well in certain situations. ;)
[User Picture]From: mindrtist
2008-11-07 09:33 am (UTC)

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the best part of this is the tag :D
[User Picture]From: gwoman
2008-11-08 10:03 pm (UTC)

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haha glad you enjoy it ;)
[User Picture]From: theidolhands
2008-11-09 01:48 am (UTC)

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XD *noticed thanks to you*