When listening to English conversation, you may find that you often hear the term ‘don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.’ But what is the speaker talking about when they use this term and where did the saying come from in the first place?
Don’t Look A Gift Horse in the Mouth
Don’t Look A Gift Horse in the Mouth Meaning
When someone says the term ‘don’t look a gift horse in the mouth’ they mean that one should not question a gift or show any ingratitude towards it because it cost you nothing and was meant as a kind gesture.
Origin of this Idiom
The saying is believed to have come from the old practise of looking at a horses teeth in order to determine its age. When guessing a horses age from its teeth, the owner may have been left disappointed, however they should be grateful that they have a healthy horse in the first place, this extends to the saying that one should not show upset or disappointment at a gift.
Other Ways to Say the Phrase
There are other ways in which you could express the meaning of this idiom using different wording. Here are some examples.
- Beggars can’t be choosers
- Don’t question the value of a gift
- Never look a gift horse in the mouth
- Don’t look at gift’s price tag
- Receive gift without criticisms
- Be grateful when receiving gift
“Don’t Look A Gift Horse in the Mouth” Examples
You might use this saying when someone receives an unwanted gift by saying something along the lines of
- ‘You might not have wanted a new sweater but don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.’
You could also use it in a situation where something unexpected has happened, you might say something like
- ‘I did not expect this lottery win but I would never look a gift horse in the mouth.’
There are many instances in which you might use the term ‘don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.’ Here are some examples of how it might work in a conversation. Firstly, we see a conversation in which someone is shocked at finding an expensive item, but the person with whom they are talking thinks it is a lucky gift and should not be overthought. Next, we see someone advising another person that they should be more grateful for a gift they received.
- Person 1: “I actually cannot believe that I just found this diamond ring on the floor.”
- Person 2: “Well don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”
- Person 1: “This perfume is not the one I usually wear, I’m not sure I want it.”
- Person 2: “Aunt Carol didn’t know that, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”
Meaning of “Don’t Look A Gift Horse in the Mouth” | Picture