Sunday, December 21, 2008

I don't give a dam(n)!

Curious factoid -- the phrase properly is 'I don't give a dam' with the last word being 'dam', referring to an Indian coin of very little value.

Since the phrase has been misunderstood for at least 70 years - witness Gone With The Wind - it's probably pointless to try to correct anyone who used 'damn' instead of 'dam'.
James Morton

23 comments:

MarkhamMom said...

interesting indeed! You are such a fountain of information...

Anonymous said...

but perhaps not quite true.

A pre-1870 rhyme used by slaves in the Southern States went:
"My name is Sam,
I don't give a damn.
I'd rather be black
Than a poor white man."

So not so clear which usage is earler, which is first or whether there were two separate origins of the phrase and Rhett was drawing on the U.S. tradition :)

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