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I was wondering about the phrase "can't be asked" and I haven't been able to find out anything definite about it.

Does it have an earliest known usage? Is it an accidental or a deliberate mutation of "can't be arsed"? Is it local to the UK (or even more local than that) or does it come from US English?


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closed as not a real question by Carlo_R., FumbleFingers, Kris, MετάEd, Mahnax Dec 21 '12 at 15:51

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Welcome to ELU. Urban Dictionary, for what it's worth, corroborates your conjecture. By the way, I'm a US speaker, and had to guess what you were asking about; it would help my fellow provincials if you edited your question to include a definition of the sense of can't be asked you intend. – StoneyB Dec 21 '12 at 14:17
I'm sure tchrist has the right of it - it's a mishearing, which I think is Too Localised. – FumbleFingers Dec 21 '12 at 14:26
@FumbleFingers: Yet another closed, heavily downvoted question that actually solves my problem. Way to go people, way to go. – Stefano Borini Jul 31 '14 at 23:36

I believe you have misheard can’t be assed for can’t be asked. In this sense, it means what UK speakers mean when they say can’t be arsed to do something. That is, that they cannot be bothered.

It is possible to construct sentences in which can’t be asked is legal, such as:

We must hide this from Mary; she can’t be asked what her part in the matter was, or she will come upon the truth.

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