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I want a more appropriate phrase that has the same form ("give a **") and meaning as the offensive "give a f**k/d**n/s**t". Is there any?

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why does one have to "give" anything? why not "don't care" - see you don't care enough to even give a f**k –  JoseK Apr 15 '11 at 6:49
    
If you're geeky enough to enjoy quoting Douglas Adams, you could not give a pair of foetid dingo's kidneys. –  TRiG Jun 8 '11 at 17:49
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8 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

How about not giving a rat's tail?

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Good, that's vivid. –  trVoldemort Apr 15 '11 at 7:06
    
It's also not idiomatic at all. You will likely confuse your audience. Pete Wilson's answer is more correct. –  wlangstroth Apr 15 '11 at 16:22
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@wlangstroth: "not giving a rat's tail" is a rather popular euphemism for "not giving a rat's ass", which is perfectly idiomatic and even listed in dictionaries. With all due respect to Pete Wilson, his answer doesn't match the format required by the OP. –  RegDwigнt Apr 15 '11 at 16:41
    
The "rather popular" articles you cite are all tongue-in-cheek uses, and the "listed in dictionaries" has no mention of "tail". The OP asked for "same form and meaning". Same form yes; same meaning, no. If a non-native speaker of English used the phrase on me, I would likely wonder if they meant to say something else. –  wlangstroth Apr 15 '11 at 16:52
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@RegDwight: and English can get right squirrelly. A thousand internets to you, sir: your conduct is befitting of a well-oiled gentleman. –  wlangstroth Apr 15 '11 at 17:16
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"I couldn't care less," perhaps?

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'give a monkey's' is all that comes to my mind. It is used as a direct euphemism specifically to avoid using the profanities in the examples you offered.

I believe it is shortened from "give a monkey's ass (arse)", which might still be considered offensive by some.

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I don't give a hoot!

or possibly

I couldn't give a fig!

but the latter is very close to one of your starred-out versions :)

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2  
Woodsy Owl says, "Give a hoot! Don't pollute." –  oosterwal Apr 15 '11 at 13:01
    
Shut the front door! –  jyc23 Jun 15 '11 at 4:03
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Maybe

I don't give a toss.

It's not as aggressive as the other four letter words, though.

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I don't know about "aggressive" but it's no less obscene. It's a reference to masturbation. –  Malvolio Apr 15 '11 at 18:55
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Traditionally, "darn" is the euphemism for "damn." You'll also hear "I don't give a hoot," but these mild phrasings are quite Milquetoastish and will give you a folksy, rural, senior-citizen air. Better to up your game and re-phrase for added power. "I don't give a _ " implies that your attention is not sufficiently engaged.

If that's the case, don't lean on a cliche. Point your criticism at the source of your ennui.

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I don't give a flying fuck :)

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Kurt Vonnegut used the phrase "Why don't you take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut." So it is an appropriate literary construct. –  Chris Cudmore Apr 15 '11 at 13:02
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You could use the famous historical quote from General Sam Sturgis...

"I don't care for John Pope one pinch of owl dung."

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