look a gift horse in the mouth


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Financial, Encyclopedia.
Related to look a gift horse in the mouth: don't look a gift horse in the mouth

look a gift horse in the mouth

To show a lack of appreciation or gratitude when receiving a gift. A Latin version of the saying is found in the writings of St. Jerome and refers to the practice of looking at a horse's teeth to determine its age. It is often used in the negative to mean the opposite. I know Aunt Jean isn't your favorite person, but she gave you that beautiful sweater as a present, so don't look a gift horse in the mouth! A: "But I don't want this ancient car!" B: "I can't believe you're looking a gift horse in the mouth, especially since you can't afford to buy a car on your own!"
See also: gift, horse, look, mouth
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

look a gift horse in the mouth

Fig. to be ungrateful to someone who gives you something; to treat someone who gives you a gift badly. (Usually with a negative.) Never look a gift horse in the mouth. I advise you not to look a gift horse in the mouth.
See also: gift, horse, look, mouth
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

look a gift horse in the mouth

Be critical or suspicious of something received at no cost. For example, Dad's old car is full of dents, but we shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth. This term, generally expressed as a cautionary proverb ( Don't look a gift horse in the mouth), has been traced to the writings of the 4th-century cleric, St. Jerome, and has appeared in English since about 1500. It alludes to determining the age of a horse by looking at its teeth.
See also: gift, horse, look, mouth
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

look a gift horse in the mouth

find fault with what has been given or be ungrateful for an opportunity.
The Latin version of the proverb don't look a gift horse in the mouth (noli…equi dentes inspicere donati ) was known to St Jerome in the early 5th century ad. The 16th-century English form was do not look a given horse in the mouth .
1998 New Scientist The JAMA paper offers this advice to researchers involved in industry-funded studies: ‘At times it may be prudent… to look a gift horse in the mouth’.
See also: gift, horse, look, mouth
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

(not) look a ˌgift horse in the ˈmouth

(informal) (not) find something wrong with something given to you free: He didn’t want to accept the offer of a free meal but I told him not to look a gift horse in the mouth.The usual way to judge the age of a horse is to look at its teeth.
See also: gift, horse, look, mouth
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

look a gift horse in the mouth

To be critical or suspicious of something one has received without expense.
See also: gift, horse, look, mouth
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
Never look a gift horse in the mouth - an adage which has certainly paid off for jockeys' agent Richard Hale.
You don't look a gift horse in the mouth and we're very grateful.
SOUTHEND didn't look a gift horse in the mouth when they were handed two soft goals by Macclesfield.
Don't look a gift horse in the mouth A YOUNG horse is worth more than an old one and examining a horse's teeth is the best way to assess its age.
But, never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, the Fly reckons the chance to beat the bank interest rate has to be taken, because the form book reveals another big plus.
"Never look a gift horse in the mouth," was most evident in the Tote Gold Trophy hurdle.
THEY say never look a gift horse in the mouth and Leona Lewis will doubtless agree...