never look a gift horse in the mouth

never look a gift horse in the mouth

also, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth

Meaning

  • it is an advice to be grateful for gifts
  • do not try to evaluate a gift
  • to accept a gift as it is given instead of trying to get something better

Example Sentences

  1. My sister got furious when I tried to see how valuable the diamond on the ring she gifted me was and told me to never look a gift horse in the mouth
  2. She always tries to return gifts and really does not know anything about never looking a gift horse in the mouth.
  3. My father would never look a gift horse in the mouth and accept what was given.
  4. You are in no position to look a gift horse in the mouth.
  5. I hope that this is a good lesson and that she stops looking a gift horse in the mouth.

Origin

The age of a horse can be checked by checking its teeth. Younger horses are healthier than older horses for obvious reason. This phrase was born in the days when horses could be given as gifts. If a person tried to check the teeth of the horse which was received as a gift then that means that instead of being grateful he was trying to find the value of the present and was a rude behaviour. It was seen as the person wanted more even though a horse was quite a gift by itself. Since horses are no longer given out as gifts this phrase is speculated to be very old. The exact origin could be older but the literary origin may have been in 1546 in a book called “A dialogue conteinyng the nomber in effect of all the prouerbes in the Englishe tongue” by John Heywood.

Synonyms

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