damn(redirected from damns)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal.
Related to damns: dams, damns with faint praise
Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!
damn by association
To condemn, vilify, or discredit someone or something due to an association with a particular person, group, or thing. The multinational corporation was damned by association when it came to light that an employee of one of its subsidiaries belonged to a white supremacist organization. After the terrorist attack, many people were quick to damn by association anyone who belonged to the same faith as the terrorists.
damn the torpedoes
To press on with a task or current course of action regardless of apparent risks or dangers. Attributed to David Farragut of the United States Navy during the American Civil War, usually paraphrased as "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" The actual order (if it ever existed) was: "Damn the torpedoes! Four bells. Captain Drayton, go ahead! Jouett, full speed! I don't care that it might bankrupt the company! Damn the torpedoes and get it done already!
An exclamation showing agreement with something that has been said. Frequently used in the expression "you're damn right. A: "I think you're the best basketball player on the team." B: "Damn right! A: "Are you really going to confront Zach about stealing your idea?" B: "You're damn right I am!
A disparaging term for someone from the northern United States. The term was originally bestowed upon dishonest peddlers from the north who tried to deceive customers in the south. Did that damn Yankee really just insult my home? Those northerners may think they're better than us southerners, but I'm going to set him straight right now!
Damn it to blue blazes!
Rur. Damn it. (An oath.) Damn it to blue blazes, I told you I can't lend you any more money! "Damn it to blue blazes! I give up!" Joe shouted, flinging his tools aside.
damn someone or something with faint praise
Fig. to criticize someone or something indirectly by not praising enthusiastically. The critic did not say that he disliked the play, but he damned it with faint praise. Mrs. Brown is very proud of her son's achievements, but damns her daughter's with faint praise.
damn someone with something
1. Lit. to curse someone with words. She damned him with curse after curse. Maria damned Joe with the worst curses she could think of.
2. Fig. to denounce or defeat someone in a particular way. She damned him with her insincere words of praise. She damned herself with the evidence she had hoped would save her.
Inf. Wow!; Hooray! (An exclamation of surprise and delight.) Hot damn! I just won a vacation trip to Florida!
See also: hot
not give a tinker's damn
Fig. not to care at all. (A tinker's damn or dam may be a worthless curse from a tinker or a small dam or barrier used to contain molten metal.) I don't give a tinker's damn whether you go or not!
not worth a damn
Inf. worthless. This pen is not worth a damn. When it comes to keeping score, she's not worth a damn.
damn it(slang) also God damn it
this is very annoying No, damn it, you wait a minute. I was thinking, God damn it, the man said he'd write, so why doesn't he send me a letter?
Usage notes: sometimes spelled dammit: But, dammit, what did she expect me to do?
give a damn (about somebody/something)(slang)
to be interested or involved He sent his son to parochial school because he believes that those schools give a damn.
Usage notes: also used with verbs like could and might to mean someone is not concerned about something: A significant portion of kids in class could give a damn.
not give a damn (about somebody/something)(slang) also not give a tinker's damn (about somebody/something)
to not be interested in someone or something not give a shit (about somebody/something) The beginning was so boring, I really didn't give a damn what happened in the rest of the movie. We didn't give a tinker's damn about justice.
Usage notes: although always suggesting a negative meaning, sometimes used without not: Who really gives a damn about the details?
worth a damn(slang) also worth a tinker's damn
to have value Kids in this city aren't getting an education that's worth a damn. I haven't asked enough people for my research to be worth a tinker's damn, but everyone I've talked to thinks it's a good idea.
damn (somebody/something) with faint praise
to show only slight approval for someone or something By qualifying his support, you could argue he was damning these leaders with faint praise. Maybe I'm damning them with faint praise, but the Yankees are easier to like than the Atlanta Braves in this series.
damn somebody/something with faint praise
to praise something or someone in such a weak way that it is obvious you do not really admire them She damned Reynolds with faint praise, calling him one of the best imitators in the world.
not give a damn(informal)
to not be interested in or worried about something or someone He can think what he likes. I don't give a damn. (often + about ) Most companies don't give a damn about the environment. (often + question word) I've made my decision and I don't give a damn what they think.
not give a tinker's cuss(British & Australian old-fashioned) also not give a tinker's damn (American old-fashioned)
to not be interested in or worried about something or someone (often + question word) I don't give a tinker's cuss what she thinks, I'll do what I want! He's never given a tinker's damn for me, or for any of the family.
Also, damned well. Certainly, without doubt; emphatically. For example, You damn well better improve your grades, or I know damned well that he's leaving me out. The damn in this phrase is mainly an intensifier.
damn with faint praise
Compliment so feebly that it amounts to no compliment at all, or even implies condemnation. For example, The reviewer damned the singer with faint praise, admiring her dress but not mentioning her voice . This idea was already expressed in Roman times by Favorinus (c. a.d. 110) but the actual expression comes from Alexander Pope's Epistle to Doctor Arbuthnot (1733): "Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer, and, without sneering, teach the rest to sneer."
not give a damn
Also, not give a fig or hang or hoot or rap or shit . Not care about, be indifferent to, as in I don't give a damn about him, or She doesn't give a fig if he comes or not. The nouns in all these terms signify something totally worthless. Although probably in oral use for much longer, damn is first recorded in this negative form in the late 1700s and the worthless item it is used to denigrate is a curse. Fig has denoted something small and worthless since about 1400, and hang since the mid-1800s; hoot has been used for the smallest particle since the later 1800s; rap, also for the smallest particle, since the first half of the 1800s, and shit, for excrement, since about 1920. All but the first of these terms are colloquial and the last (using shit) is vulgar.
not worth a damn
Also, not worth a plugged nickel or red cent or bean or hill of beans or fig or straw or tinker's damn . Worthless, as in That car isn't worth a damn, or My new tennis racket is not worth a plugged nickel. As for the nouns here, a damn or curse is clearly of no great value (also see not give a damn); a plugged nickel in the 1800s referred to a debased five-cent coin; a cent denotes the smallest American coin, which was red when made of pure copper (1800s); a bean has been considered trivial or worthless since the late 1300s (Chaucer so used it), whereas hill of beans alludes to a planting method whereby four or five beans are put in a mound (and still are worthless); and both fig and straw have been items of no worth since about 1400. A tinker's dam, first recorded in 1877, was a wall of dough raised around a spot where a metal pipe is being repaired so as to hold solder in place until it hardens, whereupon the dam is discarded. However, tinker's damn was first recorded in 1839 and probably was merely an intensification of "not worth a damn," rather than having anything to do with the dam.
exclam. You are absolutely right!; Yes!; Right on! Am I mad? Damn straight!
not worth a damn
mod. worthless. When it comes to keeping score, she’s not worth a damn.
Without any doubt; positively: I am damn well going to file charges against him.
Something of no value. Itinerant tinsmiths known as tinkers were roughand- ready men who saw no reason to watch their language. They swore so frequently that their curse words had no value for emphasis or anything else, and so something that was said to be worth a tinker's damn had no merit or value at all.