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?

  • 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


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.

  • 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

"I couldn't care less," perhaps?


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 :)

  • 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

'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.



I don't give a toss.

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

  • 3
    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

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.


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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