Don't Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth (Origin)
What Is the Origin of the Saying "Don't Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth"?The term "don't look a gift horse in the mouth" means don't be ungrateful if someone gives you a gift. More specifically, it means do not question the value of a gift as doing so could imply that you had hoped for a better gift, which could offender the giver.
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Examples of Use:
- Yes, it is real silver, but don't look for the hallmark. You shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth.
- Jack is going to give his old bike for your birthday. I know it's a relic, but be kind. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth!
- It's all he can afford. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth and thank him heartily.
One of the earliest cited examples of this term comes from St. Jerome's "The Letter to the Ephesians" (written in Latin) in AD 400:
- "Noli equi dentes inspicere donati." (This translates as "Never inspect the teeth of a given horse.")
- "No man ought to looke a geuen hors in the mouth."