What Does “Didn’t Cut Much Ice with Me” Mean?

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:

Friday, October 4, 1912:  It was my turn to keep house today while Pa, Ma, and Jimmie went to the fair to take in the sights. I wasn’t to go away any place as I was to mind the house, cows, etc. Didn’t cut much ice with me, as I felt still tired from yesterday and was content to stay at home.

Recent photo of the Muffly farm. It probably seemed quiet and lonely when Grandma was the only person at home.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Seems reasonable to me—

Grandma had a wonderful day at the Milton Fair the previous day. Now it was her parents and little brother’s turn to go.

Where was Grandma’s sister Ruth?  She was a teacher at a nearby school. Maybe Ruth didn’t give her students the day off like Grandma’s school did.

What does “didn’t cut much ice with me” mean? Grandma sounded annoyed that she had to stay home—yet she wrote that she was tired and content to stay home.

A quick Google search suggests that it means “don’t influence me”, but that doesn’t exactly work in this context.

13 Responses

  1. You asked, so here is my opinion :-). I believe that your Grandma may have been using the phrase a little bit out of context. I believe that she could have just as easily said. “It doesn’t make any difference to me”. I think that she was dead set on staying home. Maybe someone tried to talk her into going to the fair and she was not to be influenced. She used her turn to stay at home as the excuse. :-).

  2. I agree with the comment above, it sounds like she had a good time the day before and it didn’t seem to matter one way or the other if she stayed home or not this day.

  3. Urban Dictionary has an entry for “doesn’t cut any ice,” and the definition is essentially the same as vanbraman’s explanation above: “doesn’t matter,” “doesn’t make any difference,” or “it’s all good.” It sounds like your Grandmother was so tired that it really didn’t bother her that her parent’s were making her stay home while they went to the fair.

  4. Very interesting to read a phrase that has been lost to us over time :)

  5. I’ve heard the phrase “doesn’t cut much ice with me” here. Often it seems to mean ” it doesn’t bother me” or “it’s of no consequence to me” here.

    • I got the same from this phrase – “no skin off my nose” sort of saying. Didn’t bother her. Agree with Northern Narratives – another piece lost to us. Quaint little phrase.

      • I hear “no skin off my nose” here quite a bit, too!

      • I have since googled this phrase and there are other examples on the internet and in the on-line dictionary – “takes no effect” was one definition. Doesn’t cut mustard would be what we now use. I guess because you can’t “cut” either so it wouldn’t work.

  6. My interpretation is Grandma wasn’t buying in to their logic, but had her own reasons for agreeing to the directive. It wasn’t worth an argument.

  7. I would usually use it to mean “it don’t impress me much” or “who cares” but I think the others are right in this context. Grandma didn’t care that she was told to stay home as it suited her to do so. Interesting that it’s relatively unfamiliar to some of your readers yet quite common in Aus, I’d have said, but maybe only in our house :-)

  8. I’ve only ever heard it used to express displeasure or disagreement. It certainly was a very common term, here in South Aus, when I was growing up Pauleen … but not so much in recent years.

  9. I think Catherine is right in some contexts -as in I disagree with you so I don’t care what you think eg a child complaining and Mum not giving in saying “it doesn’t cut the mustard with me”. Slight variations depending where you grew up.

  10. Actually a modern equivalent might be “tell someone who cares”.

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