Trivia

Origins of Sayings - Don't Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth

About the history and origins behind the famous saying don't look a gift horse in the mouth.

Stories behind Famous Sayings

The Saying: DON'T LOOK A GIFT HORSE IN THE MOUTH.

Who Said It: St. Jerome

When: 400 A.D.

The Story behind It: This proverb is based on the fact that a horse's value is determined by his age, which, in turn, can be roughly determined by an examination of his teeth. The message conveyed is that a gift should be appreciated for the thought and spirit behind it, not according to its value. St. Jerome, who never accepted payment for his writings, first used the phrase in reply to his literary critics. His exact words: "Never inspect the teeth of a gift horse."

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