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Re: Never look a gift horse in the mouth?

Posted by Brian from Shawnee on December 09, 2004

In Reply to: Re: Never look a gift horse in the mouth? posted by ESC on December 09, 2004

: : Hello everybody,

: : Does the saying 'Never look a gift horse in the mouth' have anything to do with the Fall of Troy? Thanks in advance.

: I don't think so.

: NEVER LOOK A GIFT HORSE IN THE MOUTH - According to Charles Earle Funk in "A Hog on Ice" (Harper & Row, New York, 1948), the expression "to look a gift horse in the mouth" is "...so old that its origins cannot be determined. It has been traced to the writings of St. Jerome, one of the L*tin Fathers of the fourth century, who then labeled it a common proverb. The expression, or a variant proverb, occurs in French, Italian, Spanish, and other languages of Europe. The reference is, of course, to the bad manners displayed by one who receives a gift if he examines it for defects. Up to a certain age, the age of a horse can be determined by looking at its teeth; though it may appear to be young and frisky, the number or condition of teeth may show it to be almost fit for nothing but the glue-works."

Besides, the Greeks came out of the Trojan Horse's belly. Presumably they were smart enough not to put a window in the mouth, so looking at it would not have revealed the army hiding inside.