whit - how widely is it used?

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kl7

New Member
Francia, France
Hi, can anybody tell me if the word "whit" (supposed to mean "small amount") is used often? Is it used in some set phrases?

TIA
 
  • natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Yes, as others have hinted at, it's usually used in the negative ('I don't give a whit what she thinks about this!') but occasionally might be used in the positive.
     

    Smithy73

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    "I'm at my whit's end" to mean I am fed up, but that is more of a set phrase rather than something that I would use in writing.
     

    preppie

    Senior Member
    American English (Mostly MidAtlantic)
    I think that's "wit's end" .. as in no amount of thinking seems to solve the problem. It's a Biblical phrase (Psalms 107)
     

    Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    I certainly haven't heard it used here in Australia.

    I have!

    A contributor to a blog in The Australian, on 25 March 2010, wrote:
    Barnaby, might stir up the uneducated in the electorate but it doesn't make a whit of sense in terms of policy.

     

    siares

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    'I don't give a whit what she thinks about this!
    Could I add 'flying'? I don't give a flying whit what she thinks!

    And is 'whit' always or only sometimes correct with the reverse negation: I give not a (flying) whit what she thinks!

    Thank you.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I wouldn't.

    :warning: 'Flying' in 'give a flying fuck' is in part used for the alliteration --- and for the disparaging and ridiculous image of what the act would entail. :warning:

    'Flying' doesn't really work in relation to 'whit'
     

    siares

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    Thank you, Cagey!

    And about the reverse negation, is it in use with the verb 'give', if I paraphrased Natkretetp's original: I give not a whit what she thinks about it!
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    You could. With the inversion, it sounds rather archaic, but if that is the effect you are looking for, I think it's acceptable.
     
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