no can do


Also found in: Acronyms.

no can do

I can't do that; that cannot be done; that's not possible. A: "I need the keys into the storage closet." B: "No can do. I'm under strict orders not to lend them to anyone until we figure out who's been stealing supplies." A: "Why don't we just reset the servers?" B: "No can do! We have so much connected to the live servers that resetting them would cause a system-wide meltdown."
See also: can, no

no can do

Inf. It can't be done.; I can't do it. Sorry, John. No can do. I can't sell you this one. I've promised it to Mrs. Smith. Bill: Please fix this clock today. Bob: No can do. It'll take a week to get the parts.
See also: can, no

no can do

It's impossible; I can't do this. For example, When Bill asked me to write a speech, I told him bluntly no can do. This colloquial phrase was first recorded in 1914.
See also: can, no

no can do

I am unable to do it (used especially in refusing to comply with a request). informal
See also: can, no

No can do!

sent. It can’t be done.; I can’t do it. Lend you $200? No can do!
See also: can, no

no can do

I can’t do what you ask; this cannot be done. This slangy expression is derived from the pidgin English antonym can do, picked up by sailors in the Far East and soon turned around. Although the earliest citation for it is dated January 4, 1906 (“No can do Johnny, no can do. . . . Him gloatee too muchee lolry,” Independent, cited by Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang), Eric Partridge believed it dates back to 1850 or even earlier. Both positive and negative versions were widely used in the military and soon spread to civilian language.
See also: can, no