Where does the phrase “not worth a rap” come from and What does not worth a rap mean?

The phrase “not worth a rap” means: Having no intrinsic value; not worth a straw, nor a tinker’s dam, nor beans.

We don’t know just how rap got its name, but it was a very small coin which, though not legal tender, was passed for a halfpence in Ireland during the early eighteenth century.

It was because of the lack of legal small currency and in protest against a lopsided patent issued to one William Wood by George I for the coinage of copper halfpence in Ireland that Dean Jonathan Swift wrote the celebrated Drapier Letters in 1724.

where does the phrase not worth a rap come from and what does not worth a rap mean

Concerning the rap, he wrote in one of the letters, “Copper halfpence or farthings . . . have been for some time very scarce, and many counterfeits passed about under the name of raps.”

And when we say, “I don’t care a rap,” it is the same worthless coin to which we refer.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist for zippyfacts.com. Born in New York, she loves interesting random facts from all over the world.