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(I) can't say (as) I have

I have not. They asked me if I've ever created a spreadsheet like that before, but I can't say I have. A: "Have you ever been to that part of the city before?" B: "Nope, can't say as I have."
See also: have, say

(I) can't say's I do

I don't know with certainty. ("Say's" is a colloquial contraction of "say as.") A: "Do you know how many people are coming to dinner tonight?" B: "Hmm, can't say's I do." They asked me if I know how to create a spreadsheet like that, but I can't say's I do.

(I) can't say's I have

I have not. ("Say's" is a colloquial contraction of "say as.") They asked me if I've ever created a spreadsheet like that before, but I can't say's I have. A: "Have you ever been to that part of the city before?" B: "Nope, can't say's I have."
See also: have

(one) can't top that

One cannot improve upon or surpass something, as in excellence, quality, value, etc. Wow, a whole meal for just $5? Can't top that! Look at that majestic sunrise! Gosh, you can't top that.
See also: that, top

(you) can't get there from here

A humorous phrase used when giving directions to a place that is far away or difficult to get to from one's current location. Main Street? Well, you can't get there from here—we're out in the sticks.
See also: get, here, there

can't remember a fucking thing

rude slang Has difficulty remembering anything; forgets a lot of things. Geez, I can't remember a fucking thing these days! I'm so sorry I forgot your birthday!
See also: fucking, remember, thing

can't remember shit

rude slang Has difficulty remembering anything; forgets a lot of things. Geez, I can't remember shit these days! I'm so sorry I forgot your birthday!
See also: remember, shit

I can't accept that

I don't believe or agree with what you are saying. They said Amanda was more qualified for the promotion than I am, but I can't accept that, knowing that I've had more training than her.
See also: accept, that

I can't believe it/that/this

This information is so shocking or implausible as to be unbelievable. A: "Did you hear that Amanda got the promotion?" B: "Yep, and I can't believe it. I know I'm more qualified for it than she is!" Are they really closing McCauley's after 40 years? I can't believe it!
See also: believe, that, this

I can't understand (it)

I'm confused or puzzled (by something). I can't understand why Tom would make such a ridiculous statement. I can't understand it, but yes, Sue is selling her beautiful house.
See also: understand

if you can't be good, be careful

If you can't stop yourself from behaving improperly, try to limit the degree of risk or danger involved. If you can't be good, be careful, OK? Please try not to get into too much trouble.
See also: careful, if

if you can't beat 'em

If you can't defeat your opponent, then you might as well work alongside them or do what they do. A shortening of the phrase "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." A: "I thought you said you'd never join social media." B: "Yeah, but everybody else has, so if you can't beat 'em."
See also: beat, if

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em

If you can't defeat your opponent, then you might as well work alongside them or do what they do. A: "I thought you said you'd never join social media." B: "Yeah, but everybody else has, so if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, I guess."
See also: beat, if, join

If you can't lick 'em, join 'em

If you can't defeat your opponent, then you might as well work alongside them or do what they do. A: "I thought you said you'd never join social media." B: "Yeah, but everybody else has, so if you can't lick 'em, join 'em, I guess."
See also: if, join, lick

if you can't stand the heat, keep out of the kitchen

proverb If you can't cope with or handle the pressure in a given situation, you should remove yourself from that situation. Typically used to imply that the one being addressed is weak or unsuited for such work. The pace is only going to pick up from here, newbie, so if you can't stand the heat, keep out of the kitchen.
See also: if, keep, kitchen, of, out, stand

you can't teach an old dog new tricks

proverb You cannot teach some new skill or behavior to someone who is set in their ways. Good luck getting Grandpa to start going to yoga with you. You can't teach an old dog new tricks.
See also: dog, new, old, teach, trick
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

I can't accept that.

Inf. I do not believe what you said.; I reject what you said. Sue: The mechanic says we need a whole new engine. John: What? I can't accept that! Tom: You're now going to work on the night shift. You don't seem to be able to get along with some of the people on the day shift. Bob: I can't accept that. It's them, not me.
See also: accept, that

If you can't be good, be careful.

Prov. If you are going to do immoral things, make sure they are not dangerous.; If you are going to do something immoral, make sure to keep it secret. (Sometimes used as a flippant way of saying good-bye.) Be a good girl on your vacation trip. Or if you can't be good, be careful. Ernest likes to close his letters with, "If you can't be good, be careful."
See also: careful, if
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

if you can't beat 'em, join 'em

Also, if you can't lick 'em, join 'em. If you can't defeat your opponents you might be better off by switching to their side. For example, Seeing that no one else was willing to stick with the old software program, Marcia learned the new one, noting if you can't beat 'em, join 'em , or I opposed a new school library, but the town voted for it, so I'll support it-if you can't lick 'em, join 'em . This expression dates from about 1940 and originally alluded to political opponents. The opposite idea is expressed in an advertising slogan used in the 1960s and 1970s by a cigarette company, in which the smoker would fight rather than switch brands.
See also: beat, if, join
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

if you can't beat 'em, join 'em

INFORMAL
People say if you can't beat 'em, join 'em to mean that if you cannot change what someone is doing, you should start to do it yourself. It became a case of `if you can't beat 'em, join 'em', and I ended up working there too. Note: This expression is often varied, for example by saying things such as if you can't beat 'em, you should join 'em, or by using the whole word them instead of 'em. Conscious of rising support for these policies, the Liberal party decided that if it couldn't beat them, it should join them.
See also: beat, if, join

you can't teach an old dog new tricks

If you say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, you mean that it is often difficult to get people to try new ways of doing things, especially if they have been doing something in a particular way for a long time. The low levels of participation among older people are affected by the widespread belief that you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Note: This expression is often varied. For example, if you say you can teach an old dog new tricks or an old dog can learn new tricks, you mean that it is possible to get people to try new ways of doing something. Our work shows that you can teach an old dog new tricks. An old dog can learn new tricks if he has both the will and the opportunity.
See also: dog, new, old, teach, trick
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

you can't teach an old dog new tricks

you cannot make people change their ways. proverb
See also: dog, new, old, teach, trick
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

You can't teach an old dog new tricks

Getting people to change their habits or acquire new skills is impossible. Puppies are teachable, but older dogs are less apt to be able to be trained, or so popular wisdom had it. By the same token, an octogenarian who has read the morning newspaper for decades is unlikely to be willing, much less eager, to switch to the online edition.
See also: dog, new, old, teach, trick
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price
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