Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
an Indian giver
A person who asks the return of or takes back a gift after they have given it. One of many expressions often considered offensive for making reference to Native American stereotypes or tropes. I'm sorry to be an Indian giver like this, but I'm afraid I need the $50 back that I gave you last week.
One who takes or demands back one's gift to another, as in Jimmy wanted to take back Dan's birthday present, but Mom said that would make him an Indian giver . This term, now considered offensive, originally alluded to the Native American practice of expecting a gift in return for one that is given. [Colloquial; early 1800s]
Someone who gives a gift and then wants it returned. Native Americans' economy was based on the barter system; therefore, an item that colonists and settlers took to be an outright gift was expected to be reciprocated. When it was not, the giver wanted the item returned. The offensive phrase, which first appeared in mid-18th-century New England, is now rarely used . . . and properly so.