We all have our favorite folksy sayings and our general manager Marc is no exception. Recently, we were chatting in the office about getting things for free and Marc hits us with a kernel of wisdom—‘Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.’ At first, I thought that was the end of it, but Marc expanded on his lesson by asking if I knew the origins of that expression.
Well, I decided to break it down. ‘Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth’ is a proverb that can be most basically explained as ‘don't question the value of a gift.’ Like most proverbs, it’s a callback to a bygone era. It refers to the practice of evaluating the age of a horse by looking at its teeth. A horse’s teeth grow as they age and looking at its mouth is the simplest way to judge the health and value of it. Not that I’ve ever been given or received a horse, but it seems to me that a young horse would be a better gift than an old one. Examining the gift that someone has just given you can be seen an insult and rightly so. You should always be grateful that someone has given you anything, regardless of its preconceived value.
So, how about sharing your personal favorite saying so that I can teach something to Marc instead?