Give or Take

To give, or not to give, that is the question.

The English language is complicated.  And the American slang version of it is just plain weird.

Take the way we refer to going to the bathroom. 

In the colloquial, this is referred to as “taking a dump”.  What taking?  There is no taking involved here.  It’s all giving.

Yet, the expression to “give a sh*t” does not refer to the giving of feces in any way.  It denotes caring or concern.


It’s a wonder any foreigners can survive here!

To which you may reply, “I couldn’t give a dump.”



Disclaimer:  This post is a result of putting paper and pencil on my nightstand to catch the brilliant ideas that occur to my sleep-fogged brain when it wakes up at 3 am.  Sorry.

About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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48 Responses to Give or Take

  1. pattisj says:

    LOL The brain is a scary thing, especially at 3:00 a.m. I, too, am so thankful to have been born to this nation and to have learned the nuances of the language first hand. I can’t imagine trying to learn it as a second language.


  2. Big Al says:

    Funny post, Peg. No sense p**sing away a good blog idea at 3:00 0’clock in the morning.


  3. Lenore Diane says:

    Excellent job of flushing out your late-night ideas. Well done!


  4. More, I say! I want more of these late night thoughts. What else have you jotted down all bleary-eyed lately? Make it a weekly blog thing maybe? “Give a sh*t Saturdays”?


  5. Tar-Buns says:

    You’re just full of piss and vinegar today, ain’t ya? 🙂


  6. gojulesgo says:

    Ha! I’m so glad you had that paper and pencil next to your bed – this made me laugh out loud! “It’s all giving.” LOL!!


  7. notquiteold says:

    Now I am expecting the next foreigner I meet to say, “I don’t care if I defecate.”


  8. says:

    I like “dropping the kids off at the pool.”


  9. Barb says:

    Were you drinking before your 3am wake up? See…this is why they had outhouses. So by the time you trotted out and back, you’d be good and awake and could write long poems about craphouse crickets. Still…you’re right. I guess non-natives learn this jargon the same way we learn twenty-speak. By embarassing ourselves in front of our children. “Oh, good grief, Mom. ‘Meh’ means I don’t care. ‘Meeh’ means ‘no’. There’s a big difference!!! (add eye roll).


  10. misswhiplash says:

    Let’s flush it all away! the discrepancies in the language I mean….not your post


  11. This gets me to thinking about the word “get”…get sleepy, get some shut-eye, get a pen or pencil and some paper, get those ideas down, get with it (bleary eyed), get over it, get going, get on with it, get comfortable. Yep, after a trip to the *** you probably got comfortable. You got me thinking.


    • pegoleg says:

      This started out with me thinking about words that go together to mean one thing, that is totally different from their individual components ie “passed the time”, and how hard that is to explain to someone for whom English is not the primary language.


  12. Sandy Sue says:

    The whole give and take aspect of bathroom idioms kills me. Along with “take a dump,” there’s “take a p*ss.” Who wants that kind of party favor?


  13. How long was your mind in the toilet before you came up with this one? 😉


  14. Interesting…
    the handle on my machine is located on the left of the tank or cistern.
    Well… I’m not sure how interesting, that is, really.
    The more I think about it, it doesn’t seem like anyone would really give a dump.


  15. It is kind of an odd expression. If we really wanted to show someone we didn’t care, wouldn’t it be more offensive to give them a s**t than refuse to give them a s**t?


  16. Another phrase that people use when they don’t care is, “I could care less.” To me that means that they at least care a little. If they don’t care at all, shouldn’t the phrase be, “I couldn’t care less?”


  17. egills says:

    I always struggle to understand what the kids are saying – I mean if something is the dogs boll*cks surely it’s a bad thing? But no it means it’s really cool….


  18. Spectra says:

    This does make one wonder how a poor foreigner would feel if you told him you didn’t give a s**t because you were angry. He’d probably have no motivation to make you happy, for fear you’d hand him a big slopping handful of crap.


  19. Laura says:

    I actually have a somewhat half-baked theory for this: “a dump” is the act of, um, dumping, not the substance being dumped. I’m not sure why you’d “take” the act of dumping, but maybe it’s related to the way that British people “take” a decision.


  20. Deborah the Closet Monster says:

    This is evidence your brain’s a benefit to us all (via our funny bones in many cases, as here) no matter the time of day! 😀


  21. I always mean to capture my brilliant 3am ideas. I’m impressed you actually did – and that they made sense the next morning!


  22. re; this is referred to as “taking a dump”.

    Can’t you just say’ I’m going to the bathroom without being ‘waste product specific’ ?!


  23. Pingback: Versatile Blogger Award – you like me, you really like me! | short and fun

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