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Biting the hand...

Posted by ESC on December 22, 2000

In Reply to: Biting the hand that feeds you. posted by marcus on December 22, 2000

: : What is: Biting the hand that feeds you?

: : It can be a show of ingratitude or meanness towards a kind act such as hiring someone who is down and out on their luck and that person turns around and burgles your home. It could also be what most teenagers do when they get mad and make themselves miserable by not cooperating with their parents.

BITE THE HAND THAT FEEDS YOU -- "Be ungrateful; turn against a benefactor. Dogs do it literally sometimes; people do it figuratively. The expression was in use early in the 18th century, as in Joseph Addison's 'The Spectator' : 'He is so wonderfully unlucky6, insomuch that he will bite the Hand that feeds him.'" From "The Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers (Ballantine Books, New York, 1985). A second reference states: "This expression, meaning utter ingratitude, first appeared in the writings of Edmund Burke, (1729-1797) one of the greatest British parliamentarians and certainly one of the finest orators of all time. In an essay published after his death, he wrote: 'And having looked to government for bread, on the very first scarcity they will burn and bite the hand that fed them.'" From "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins, New York, 1977, 1988).