(5) Fri Dec 05 2008 07:45: I've always liked the phrase "could care less" even though it's one of those maddening phrases that means the same as its opposite, "couldn't care less". I like the self-referential connotations that make it mean the same as its opposite: "I'm too apathetic about this to even put in the effort to not care about it!"
I always assume the "could care less" variant has an implicit "(in theory, anyway)" after it.
Posted by drewp at Sun Dec 07 2008 01:53
I gave up on 'could care less', but I do wish people would stop saying 'least common denominator' when they're trying to talk about something smaller than the other supposed denominators. The LCD is at least as big as all your other denominators, easily much much bigger.
By the way, there is a huge amount of discussion of this at Language Log.
Drewp-- interesting point!
I hadn't thought about "LCD" in a long time!
I think when people use it in speech, functionally they're thinking of Greatest Common Factor... the most significant component that two things have in common. I guess the "forgiving" interpretation is that people are looking for the smallest concept that can let two unrelated things be compared and/or work together...