Me ne frego (meh neh freh-goh) is a popular expression in Italian, that can be translated in English with “I don’t care” but also with the more incisive “I don’t give a damn.”
Etymologically, it comes from the verb fregare, to rub, which in turn comes from the Latin fricare. Now, me ne frego really doesn’t have anything to do with fregare, but it’s interesting to note that it’s sometimes perceived as vulgar, especially in certain registers, because the Latin fricare was also used by our glorious Roman ancestors as slang in reference to being intimate with someone.
Depending on the context in which it’s uttered, me ne frego can both indicate the speaker’s intention not to compromise on something, indifference towards the subject discussed or even an attitude, that of someone who cares chiefly about their own well being.
In Italy, we use it a lot in expressions such as che me ne frega, which is a more colloquial version of che me ne importa, both of them translatable with “why would I care.”
Me ne frego is an interesting expression also from a historical point of view. It was adopted by the Arditi, a special élite force of the Italian army during the First World War, as one of their mottos; then by Decadent poet Gabriele d’Annunzio and the soldiers he led to Fiume and, finally, by Mussolini’s Camicie Nere during the Fascist era.
Today, most Italians don’t remember —nor know, probably — neither about the saucy nor about the historical connotations of me ne frego: we use it all the time. But it’s always better to avoid it if you’re using a more elegant, formal language register.
Onestamente, della tua opinione me ne frego.
Honestly, I don’t give a damn about your opinion.
Me ne frego di essere a dieta, dammi una fetta di torta!
I don’t care I’m on a diet. Give me a slice of cake!
Che me ne frega di loro. Io faccio quel che voglio.
Why would I care about them. I’ll do what I want.