What’s In a Word? The Meaning Behind the “Give A Damn” Phrase
The word “damn” originated in 17th century France but can be traced back to the Middle English word “dam” and even further back to the Latin word “damnare,” which means to condemn. From the 14th to the 16th century, the term wasn’t used profanely. Over time, the English phrase “I don’t give a damn” came to mean “I don’t care.” The term itself can be used positively; however, most of the time, it is used negatively. The word “damn” is primarily used as a verb and not a noun.
The idiomatic meaning of “damn” is to have or show no concern, care, or interest in a situation or matter. On the other hand, it can mean the opposite – to have and show concern, care, or to have an interest in a cause or situation. And this is why the verb “damn” is not an explicit or profane term but is used as a meaningful and integral part of the Give A Damn philosophy.
For instance, a few people wanted me to replace Give A Damn with Share Your Love. I listened and heard two voices that helped me make my final decision. One was from my deceased mother, and the other was from God. In both instances, I was told that I am not using the word damn in vain or anger but rather to get peoples’ attention by making a strong and very important point.
The “Give A Damn” phrase is a statement of passion and purpose. Behind these words lies a mission – the key and ticket to cultural change. As human beings, our highest priority should be serving one another. We should all “do what we say and say what we do”. In other words, always do the right thing.
If you really want to give a damn, you will need energy, compassion, and self-awareness. You must take responsibility for your own actions, endure any consequences, and show that you can and will give a damn in everything that you say and do.
Therefore, our use of the word “damn” is indeed one of proactiveness. It is a word of positive action to make a difference in the world. People matter more than things, and it matters how you treat all people, not just your loved ones. For example, there are three things that people should always do if they make a mistake. The first thing is to say you’re sorry and to be compassionate. Then, you need to take responsibility for what you have done. Admit your fault. And most importantly, ask how you can make it right.
Giving a damn creates a positive ripple effect. You will be amazed at the positive impact your words and actions will have on those around you. It will take time, but it’s so essential for this world. And we have to do it, one person, at a time.
So always Give A Damn. It does a mind and body great things.