Dictionary.com

Indian giver

Save This Word!

noun Informal: Often Disparaging and Offensive.
a person who gives a gift and then takes it back.
QUIZ
WILL YOU SAIL OR STUMBLE ON THESE GRAMMAR QUESTIONS?
Smoothly step over to these common grammar mistakes that trip many people up. Good luck!
Question 1 of 7
Fill in the blank: I can’t figure out _____ gave me this gift.

Origin of Indian giver

First recorded in 1825–35

usage note for Indian giver

The term Indian giver is now perceived as insulting to American Indians. While it originally referred to a Native practice of giving a gift and expecting an equivalent gift in return, the dissociation of the expression from any authentic custom and its subsequent association with the dishonorable or deceptive behavior of others is disrespectful to Native American peoples and their cultures. See also Indian.

OTHER WORDS FROM Indian giver

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

How to use Indian giver in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for Indian giver

Indian giver

noun
US and Canadian offensive a person who asks for the return of a present he has given

Derived forms of Indian giver

Indian giving, noun
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

Other Idioms and Phrases with Indian giver

Indian giver

One who takes or demands back one's gift to another, as in Jimmy wanted to take back Dan's birthday present, but Mom said that would make him an Indian giver. This term, now considered offensive, originally alluded to the Native American practice of expecting a gift in return for one that is given. [Colloquial; early 1800s]

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