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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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  • 4
    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
    Commented Apr 15, 2011 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
    Commented Jun 8, 2011 at 17:49

7 Answers 7

12

How about not giving a rat's tail?

It is a rather popular euphemism for "not giving a rat's ass", which is perfectly idiomatic and even listed in dictionaries.

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  • 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. Commented Apr 15, 2011 at 16:52
  • @wlangstroth: fair enough. English as she is spoke differs from place to place. All I'm saying is that I'm certainly not pulling my answer out of thin air.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Apr 15, 2011 at 17:02
  • 1
    @RegDwight: and English can get right squirrelly. A thousand internets to you, sir: your conduct is befitting of a well-oiled gentleman. Commented Apr 15, 2011 at 17:16
  • Not giving a rat's tail is perfectly idiomatic and quite frequently used. Possibly not everywhere, but I have heard it used by people from both the UK, the US, and Australia. Commented Jan 22, 2014 at 23:38
10

"I couldn't care less," perhaps?

10

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
    Commented Apr 15, 2011 at 13:01
  • Shut the front door!
    – jyc23
    Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 4:03
7

'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.

6

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. Commented Apr 15, 2011 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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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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