Doesn't Know From
September 21, 2004 3:29 AM Subscribe
Where does the American construction doesn't know from
come from? How is it used? [More Inside.
posted by MiguelCardoso to Writing & Language (19 answers total)
I've heard this for years and I guess it must mean "doesn't know anything about X" but I'd love to know how the from got there and what the colloquial/conversational usage rules are. One more obvious instance I've heard is Doesn't know from shit", which is general, but more commonly it refers to a specific field, recently including "He doesn't know from corn repeal laws" (whatever those are) on a rerun of an old West Wing episode.
Instinctively - i.e. ignorantly, on a hunch - I guess it means something like "Whatever he says about [the corn repeal laws] doesn't come from any knowledge of the [corn repeal laws]".
I've looked up my dictionaries and googled to no avail but, although I sense there's an explanation out there, I don't, er, know from search terms. (Would that be correct or, as I feel, not?)