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Defining ‘I Could Care Less’

When I hear someone use the phrase I could care less, I immediately stop listening because I really could not care less about what they have to say. Yeah, I know that’s an overreaction—people misspeak all the time—but what’s particularly annoying is that when called out on this meaningless turn of phrase, people will often defend it:

“Oh, you know what I mean. English is a living language!”

The problem is, I couldn’t care less is not an idiom or a borrowed phrase from another language that may have evolved (or been corrupted) over time. It’s a series of words meant to be taken literally. It’s like saying, ‘One plus one is three.’ Sure, I know what you mean, but that doesn’t stop it from being stupid.

Yes, English is a living language, but I could care less could never be taken as standard no matter how many people use it. Just image how a dictionary might define it:

could care less – (idiom) phrase meaning ‘could not care less’