never look a gift horse in the mouth

never look a gift horse in the mouth
A horse’s age is commonly gauged by the state of its teeth. The proverb warns against questioning the quality or use of a lucky chance or gift. Cf. a 420 ST. JEROME Commentary on Epistle to Ephesians Preface noli..ut vulgare proverbium est, equi dentes inspicere donati, do not, as the common proverb says, look at the teeth of a gift horse.

a 1510 J. STANBRIDGE Vulgaria (EETS) 27 A gyuen hors may not [be] loked in the tethe.

1546 J. HEYWOOD Dialogue of Proverbs I. v. B2v Where gyfts be gyuen freely, est west north or south, No man ought to loke a geuen hors in the mouth.

1659 N. R. Proverbs 80 No man ought to look a guift Horse in the mouth.

1710 S. PALMER Proverbs 40 Never look a Gift Horse in the Mouth.

1892 G. & W. GROSSMITH Diary of a Nobody xviii. I told him it was a present from a dear friend, and one mustn’t look a gift-horse in the mouth.

2002 Oldie Mar. 34 Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, let not the grass grow under thy feet, and never look a gift horse in the mouth.


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  • never look a gift horse in the mouth — don’t/never/look a gift horse in the mouth phrase used for saying that if you are given something good, you should not complain about it or try to find things that are wrong with it Thesaurus: presents and giftssynonym Main entry: gift …   Useful english dictionary

  • look a gift horse in the mouth — To complain if a gift is not perfect. A proverb. Usually used with a negative. * /John gave Joe a baseball but Joe complained that the ball was old. His father told him not to look a gift horse in the mouth./ …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • look a gift horse in the mouth — To complain if a gift is not perfect. A proverb. Usually used with a negative. * /John gave Joe a baseball but Joe complained that the ball was old. His father told him not to look a gift horse in the mouth./ …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • look a gift horse in the mouth — phrasal : to criticize and find fault with a gift * * * look a gift horse in the mouth To criticize, delay or niggle over a gift or lucky opportunity (orig to look at a gift horse s teeth to tell its age) • • • Main Entry: ↑gift * * * find fault… …   Useful english dictionary

  • look a gift horse in the mouth — to criticize or refuse to take something that has been offered to you. I know the car s not in great condition, but you shouldn t look a gift horse in the mouth. Usage notes: usually follows never or not, as in the example Etymology: based on the …   New idioms dictionary

  • don't look a gift horse in the mouth — don’t/never/look a gift horse in the mouth phrase used for saying that if you are given something good, you should not complain about it or try to find things that are wrong with it Thesaurus: presents and giftssynonym Main entry: gift …   Useful english dictionary

  • gift — [ gıft ] noun count *** 1. ) something that you give to someone as a present: He bought generous gifts for all his family. The video camera was a retirement gift from colleagues. She made a $50,000 gift to charity. 2. ) a natural ability to do… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • horse — see you can take a horse to the water, but you can’t make him drink don’t change horses in mid stream England is the paradise of women, the hell of horses, and the purgatory of servants never look a gift horse in the mouth a good horse cannot be… …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • look — see look before you leap a cat may look at a king the devil looks after his own dogs look up to you, cats look down on you, pigs is equal never look a gift horse in the mouth when all you have is a hammer, everything look …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • gift */*/*/ — UK [ɡɪft] / US noun [countable] Word forms gift : singular gift plural gifts 1) something that you give to someone as a present He bought generous gifts for all his family. The video camera was a retirement gift from colleagues. She made a… …   English dictionary

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