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(see also INSIGNIFICANCE.)
bottom of the barrel The dregs; the lowest of the low; the end of the line; financial or moral bankruptcy; often bottom of the pickle barrel. Although the exact origin of this expression is unknown, it apparently refers to the barrels formerly used in grocery stores to keep pickles. By the time the last of the pickles were sold, they were often not fit to eat. The phrase is said to have been popularized by baseball announcer Red Barber in his broadcasts of the Brooklyn Dodger games from 1945-55. A variation is reach the bottom of the barrel. Scape the bottom of the barrel means to ‘try to find something of use or value after the main resources have been exhausted,’ and to ‘make do as best one can with what is available.’
catchpenny Worthless, cheap, gimmicky, as an article designed to trap the dollars of unwary buyers. Though originally and still often applied to publications, the story that the term originated from a deliberately misleading headline used by the British printer Catnach in 1824 regarding a sensational murder case is belied by Oliver Goldsmith’s 1759 reference to:
one of those catchpenny subscription works.
kickshaw Trivial, insignificant, worthless; gaudy but useless; garish but without value. This expression, derived from the French quelque chose ‘something, anything,’ originally referred to nonsense or buffoonery. In Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, for example, when Sir Andrew Aguecheek states, “I delight in masques and revels sometimes altogether,” Sir Toby Belch asks:
Are thou good at these kickshaws, knight? (I, iii)
The term, occasionally used in reference to small tidbits of food or hors d’oeuvres, usually describes something of a trivial nature.
He sang … no kickshaw ditties. (Charles Dickens, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, 1870)
not worth a continental Completely worthless or valueless; good for nothing, useless. A continental was a piece of the paper currency issued by the Continental Congress during the American Revolution. Its value depreciated so drastically that it was virtually worthless by the end of the war. Use of this U.S. colloquialism dates from the 19th century.
The next day he is all played out and not worth a continental. (G. W. Peck, Sunshine, 1882)
not worth a damn Worth nothing, of no value or use; also not worth a tinker’s damn and not worth a twopenny damn. A damn is nothing more than a mild curse word, in common use for centuries.
A wrong … system, not worth a damn. (George Gordon, Lord Byron, Diary, 1817)
It is most probable that a tinker’s damn has nothing to do with the tinker’s tool called a dam (a piece of dough used to keep solder from spilling over), as has been frequently theorized; but that it rather refers to the reputation of these itinerant jacks-of-all-trades for their propensity toward cursing. The exact origin of a twopenny damn, generally attributed to the Duke of Wellington, is not known. It may, however, be connected with a tinker’s damn since twopence was apparently once the going rate for a tinker’s labor.
not worth a straw Worthless, valueless, insignificant, useless; also not worth a rush. Although both expressions date from about the 15th century, not worth a rush has been replaced in current usage by not worth a straw, most likely a variant or derivative of the former. The allusion may be to the former practice of strewing rushes, or straws on the floor as a kind of carpeting for visitors. Apparently fresh rushes were put down only for the more distinguished guests, while visitors of lower social status used those already trod upon by their superiors or none at all.
Friends’ applauses are not worth a rush. (W. Pope, in Flatman’s Poems, 1674)
|Noun||1.||worthlessness - having no qualities that would render it valuable or useful; "the drill sergeant's intent was to convince all the recruits of their worthlessness"|
quality - an essential and distinguishing attribute of something or someone; "the quality of mercy is not strained"--Shakespeare
fecklessness - worthlessness due to being feeble and ineffectual
groundlessness, idleness - the quality of lacking substance or value; "the groundlessness of their report was quickly recognized"
valuelessness - having none of the properties that endow something with value
damn, darn, red cent, shucks, tinker's dam, tinker's damn, hoot, shit - something of little value; "his promise is not worth a damn"; "not worth one red cent"; "not worth shucks"
vanity, emptiness - the quality of being valueless or futile; "he rejected the vanities of the world"
worth - the quality that renders something desirable or valuable or useful
|2.||worthlessness - the quality of being without practical use|