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dog in the manger

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noun
a person who selfishly keeps something that he or she does not really need or want so that others may not use or enjoy it.
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Origin of dog in the manger

First recorded in 1555–65

OTHER WORDS FROM dog in the manger

dog-in-the-manger, adjective

Words nearby dog in the manger

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use dog in the manger in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for dog in the manger

dog in the manger

noun
  1. a person who prevents others from using something he has no use for
  2. (as modifier)a dog-in-the-manger attitude
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Cultural definitions for dog in the manger

dog in the manger

A person who spitefully refuses to let someone else benefit from something for which he or she has no personal use: “We asked our neighbor for the fence posts he had left over, but, like a dog in the manger, he threw them out rather than give them to us.” The phrase comes from one of Aesop's fables, about a dog lying in a manger full of hay. When an ox tries to eat some hay, the dog bites him, despite the fact that the hay is of no use to the dog.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with dog in the manger

dog in the manger

One who prevents others from enjoying something despite having no use for it. For example, Why be a dog in the manger? If you aren't going to use those tickets, let someone else have them. This expression alludes to Aesop's fable about a snarling dog that prevents horses from eating fodder that is unpalatable to the dog itself. [Mid-1500s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
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