Also: Never bite the hand that feeds you
Used as an idiom as early as 600 B.C. and in English since at least the 16th century.
Meaning of Idiom ‘Bite the Hand That Feeds You’
To bite the hand that feeds you is to attack, harm, show ingratitude toward, or otherwise turn against someone who is helping you.
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This idiom is illustrated in one of Aesop’s Fables, The Gardener and his Dog:
“A gardener’s dog, frisking about the brink of a well in the garden, happened to fall in. The gardener very readily ran to his assistance, but as he was trying to help him out, the cur bit him by the hand. The man, annoyed at what he considered such ungrateful behavior towards one whose only aim was to save his life, came away the left the dog to drown.”
Examples Of Use
“People say you shouldn’t criticize your employer because you’ll be biting the hand that feeds you. It’s you who does the work, so who really feeds who?”
“I cannot stand this client, said Ed, I’m going to tell him to stop being such a pain!” “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you,” said Chris.
This idiom was used as early as 600 B.c. as by the Greek poet Sappho. Its earliest known recorded use in English is 1711 by writer Joseph Addison. The expression draws on the metaphor of a dog biting its master, just as in the example from Aesop’s Fables, above.
25 Body Parts Idioms | Idioms Online Video
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More Idioms Starting with D
More Idioms Related to Aesop’s Fables
More Body Part Idioms
- Armed to the Teeth
- Elbow Grease
- Elbow Room
- Blow Smoke Up Someone’s Ass
- Give Your Right Arm (for something)
- Give Your Eye Teeth (for something)
- Flip Someone Off
More Bite Idioms
More Don’t Idioms
- Don’t Cry Over Spilt Milk
- Don’t You Dare
- Don’t Start
- Don’t Mind Me
- Don’t Mention It (Thank You Response)
More Feed Idioms
More Hand Idioms
- Secondhand (Second-hand, second hand)
- Firsthand (first-hand, first hand)
- Old Hand, an
- Have Someone in the Palm of One’s Hand
- At Hand
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