Indian giver

Idioms & Phrases

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® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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