I've learning today this sentence, "Don't care a fiddlestick".
When do you use this expression?
Is it a saying or just in writing and reading?
I really want to know about that.

  • 3
    It is dated. It means one cares very little, or none at all, which would be IDGAF today in short text.
    – HippoSawrUs
    Apr 21 at 6:45
  • 2
    There are various expressions saying that you don't even care as much as something of very small value - don't care a straw, don't care a button, don't care a pin - but they are all very old-fashioned. Apr 21 at 7:54
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    Fiddlesticks is a minced oath, presumably for another word starting with F. Modern versions would either involve the F word or the classic "could(n't) care less".
    – Stuart F
    Apr 21 at 9:42
  • 1
    @StuartF: Nah - Originally (1500) it literally was a fiddler's bow. Which by 1600 had come to be seen as "an insignificant thing", and an exclamation (originally singular, but almost always plural in later use). I've never heard it used as "an insignificant thing" (as in "I don't give a toss / monkey's / damn / brass farthing / f**k / ..."), but I see the full OED has one such instance recorded 1807. Apr 21 at 11:23
  • @StuartF It might be a minced oath when used as an interjection, e.g. "Oh, fiddlesticks!" Practically any word that begins with "f" can be used as a euphemism for the F-word.
    – Barmar
    Apr 22 at 15:31

2 Answers 2


Hardly ever used.

I've search for uses of it, and I've found one example (excluding dictionaries) and that is by the Kaiser of Germany, 120 years ago. There are also a few examples from non-native writers in India.

In case it isn't obvious, "fiddlestick" is a "minced oath", a way of hinting at "fuck" without actually saying it. Native speakers would be much more likely to say "I don't care (or "give") a fuck", since such minced oaths are increasingly rare. If the situation is such that swearing is taboo, then don't use any minced form, just say "I don't care". Language learners should be very cautious about using swear words, it can be very hard to judge when it is acceptable.

Exclaiming "Fiddlesticks!" to express frustration is equally dated and not part of the normal language.


That isn't a phrase I've ever heard. I think it would sound wrong to most English speakers. However, there might be some historical basis for it.

A "fiddle stick" is an alternate term for a violin bow. In modern English the most common use of 'fiddlesticks' is as a minced oath (that is, exchanging a swear word with a nonsense word) or as an exclamation to mean "nonsense".

However, there is an outdated slang use of "a fiddlestick's end" to mean either the smallest amount, or "next to nothing". There are other slang expressions still in use that mean the same, such as "diddly-squat". So, to say "I don't care a fiddlestick's end" could potentially mean you don't even care the smallest amount - but in direct answer to your question, nobody uses it.

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