Breaktime - Yoofspeak

29th April 2011 at 01:00

CBA (exclamation)

Means: A shrug of indifference

Usage: "Shouldn't you check the homework before you hand it in?" "CBA."

Clean up the abject tip that is your room? Discreetly dispose of the drink cans scattered across the playing field? "Nah. CBA".

Blah, bleh, deurrr, whatevah . It's come to this: surly, moody teens can't even be bothered to say they can't be bothered, so have abbreviated it to yet another TLA (that's "three-letter abbreviation", by the way).

Are they using the initials to play down the rudeness of their chosen expression, or is it - much more likely - that even "bovvered?" is too long-winded for them, too tedious to articulate. In the old days teachers used words like "insolence" and "laziness"; now it's called (de)motivation and (bad) attitude and we seem to have to put up with it.

The letters in full, of course, stand for "can't be arsed", though some users will tell you, either being coy or due to ignorance, that it's "can't be asked". Some even find CBA too long, abbreviating that to "ceebs". Now that really is CBA.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today