beggars can’t be choosers

beggars can’t be choosers

Meaning

  • do not ask more or customize what you get when you have got it after asking for it
  • people who are begging cannot make a choice of what they get
  • in an advisory tone, this phrase means that things that are bestowed upon request should not be questioned

Example Sentences

  1. In this village you are only going to get these many options for furniture. Learn to live it because beggars can’t be choosers.
  2. We took the deal at the time because beggars can’t be choosers.
  3. I have not offered you more because beggars can’t be choosers.
  4. Your brother living with us cannot ask for more things to be stocked in his room since beggars can’t be choosers.
  5. You asked for this and now you want me to exchange it? Don’t you know that beggars can’t be choosers?

Origin

The phrase is connected with “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” and was first recorded by John Heywood. While the latter was first printed in the 1546 version of the “A dialogue conteinyng the nomber in effect of all the prouerbes in the Englishe tongue” the phrase in discussion was only printed in the version that came out in 1562. This was the era when there was no organized state that would help the poor in any manner. It was implied that when they were being helped or given gifts then the only acceptable thing to do was to be grateful rather than trying to find the value of it or questioning it in any manner since alms or gifts were at the mercy of the people giving them and had no say by the people receiving them. The current version of the phrase is “beggars can’t be choosers”.

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