For example, Dad's old car is full of dents, but we shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth.
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This proverb goes back to at least the 16th century.The proverb refers to the practice of evaluating the age of a horse by looking at its teeth.Why shouldnt you look in its mouth? .Don't question the value of a gift.Where does it come from?Related terms edit Translations edit See also edit References edit Gregory.Jerome 's, latin translation equi donati dentes non inspiciuntur, from the, letter to the Ephesians, circa AD 400.
From, middle English texts for given horse : No man ought to looke a geuen hors in the mouth.A horse's age can be determined by inspecting its teeth.Since horses' teeth grow over time, checking their length is a way of gauging old age.We have some clues with this one however.When given a horse, it would be bad manners to inspect the horses mouth to see if it has bad teeth.A Latin version of the saying is found in the writings.The substitution of gift for given occurred in 1663 in, butler 's, hudibras, because the iambic tetrameter required a shortening: He neer consider'd it, as loth.English edit, wOTD bonus prize for killing whisper 17 December 2009, alternative forms edit, etymology edit.Although uncertain, the origin can be traced even further.
As with most proverbs the origin is ancient and unknown.
This practice is also the source of the expression long in the tooth, meaning old.
The Latin version of the proverb don't look a gift horse in the mouth ( noliequi dentes inspicere donati ) was known to St Jerome in the early 5th century.