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Gift horse

Posted by ESC on January 16, 2001

In Reply to: "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth" posted by Cynthia Monaco on January 16, 2001

: So what does it mean? What is a gifthorse???

A gift horse is one you get free -- a gift. And it's not polite to check out a gift's value in front of the giver.

NEVER LOOK A GIFT HORSE IN THE MOUTH - According to Charles Earle Funk in " " (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 Latin 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."

See: the meaning and origin of the phrase "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth".