“Can’t be arsed”
Posted: 05 June 2009 09:50 AM   [ Ignore ]
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This phrase meaning “can’t be bothered”, seems to be gaining popularity. Here’s an example received today:

“Dude! You’re proposing a revolutionary model of human evolution and you can’t be arsed to check your spelling? No wonder everybody turned down your paper.”

(Incidentally this was from a Leftpondian, albeit one that hangs out with quite few Brits. )

I don’t remember it being used before about 10 years ago.

I’m also assuming it’s a London thing.

What do we think?

gib

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Posted: 05 June 2009 10:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Truth is, I regularly channel a little old lady from London with a decidedly dirty mouth :-)

Hey, gib!

Look! I’m stalking you!  :coolhmm:

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Posted: 05 June 2009 10:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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The expression was included in the 2006 draft additions to the OED; they describe it as “chiefly Brit. and Irish English,” so Rightpondian (no surprise) but apparently not restricted to London.  Earliest cite is from 1988, so relatively recent.

Edit: In this old thread, OP Tipping reports its use in Australia also.

[ Edited: 05 June 2009 10:54 AM by Dr. Techie ]
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Posted: 05 June 2009 11:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Dr. Techie you are a star. Your link also mentions “can’t be fucked” (still used here) and “can’t be fagged”, which i can vaguely remember along with “can’t be faffed”.

Hi eversbane!

Eversbane is of course the Leftpondian i quoted in my OP. He’s possibly here to check that i stet what i erroneously assumed to be a typo. In his original text he actually wrote “can’t be arsed to check you spelling”. It’s a Texas thang, apparently.

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Posted: 06 June 2009 08:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I’m astonished the OED’s earliest quote is 1988, since it’s the matter of seconds to Google a quote 20 years earlier from a very well-known book, Hunter Davis’s authorised biography of the Beatles from 1968 (see here) - the snippet view is utterly uninformative, but the initial search result page gives the phrase:

If they can’t be arsed awaiting [sic- Z] for me, I can’t be arsed going after them. So I
sat down and watched telly.”

This matches my belief that I’ve known the phrase for a very long time.

(btw, it would be my bet that a good percentage of the readers of this forum own this book - I know I do ...)

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Posted: 06 June 2009 01:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Zythophile - 06 June 2009 08:00 AM

I’m astonished the OED’s earliest quote is 1988, since it’s the matter of seconds to Google a quote 20 years earlier from a very well-known book, Hunter Davis’s authorised biography of the Beatles from 1968 (see here) - the snippet view is utterly uninformative, but the initial search result page gives the phrase:

If they can’t be arsed awaiting [sic- Z] for me, I can’t be arsed going after them. So I
sat down and watched telly.”

This matches my belief that I’ve known the phrase for a very long time.

(btw, it would be my bet that a good percentage of the readers of this forum own this book - I know I do ...)

The phrase suggests an image of “can’t be bothered to get up off one’s arse” to me.

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Posted: 06 June 2009 04:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I’ll just add that the textspeak acronym “cba” gets 10 entries on UD, while a google search of “i cba to” yields over 50,000 google hits.

Oh, and “i cba 2” = 12,400 ghits.

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Posted: 06 June 2009 09:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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jointgib - 05 June 2009 11:19 AM

Dr. Techie you are a star. Your link also mentions “can’t be fucked” (still used here) and “can’t be fagged”, which i can vaguely remember along with “can’t be faffed”.

Hi eversbane!

Eversbane is of course the Leftpondian i quoted in my OP. He’s possibly here to check that i stet what i erroneously assumed to be a typo. In his original text he actually wrote “can’t be arsed to check you spelling”. It’s a Texas thang, apparently.

I’m not checking up on you. You provided a link to a site concerned with etymology. Had to click it.

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Posted: 07 June 2009 07:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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eversbane - 06 June 2009 09:29 PM

jointgib - 05 June 2009 11:19 AM
Dr. Techie you are a star. Your link also mentions “can’t be fucked” (still used here) and “can’t be fagged”, which i can vaguely remember along with “can’t be faffed”.

Hi eversbane!

Eversbane is of course the Leftpondian i quoted in my OP. He’s possibly here to check that i stet what i erroneously assumed to be a typo. In his original text he actually wrote “can’t be arsed to check you spelling”. It’s a Texas thang, apparently.

I’m not checking up on you. You provided a link to a site concerned with etymology. Had to click it.

I know, i was just projecting some of my shame at “correcting” you text.

Cool board though eh?

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Posted: 07 June 2009 10:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I first became aware of I can’t be arsed some 15 years ago when I heard a few people using the phrase in my locale (south coast of England). In fact the first person I ever heard use it was a Scot who had just relocated to Portsmouth from London and I recall the phrase vividly because I remember my wife asking whether I had ever heard that construction before.

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Posted: 08 June 2009 03:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Unless memory is messing with me, this phrase has been in use in Australia since my childhood in the seventies and eighties.

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