Zookeeper Joanna Klass hand feeds a Chilean flamingo at the backwoods Park Zoo in Seattle. The zoo has actually been closed for virtually three months due to the fact that of the coronavirus outbreak, may 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
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And now, Words and also Their story from VOA finding out English.

You are watching: Don't bite the hand that feeds you

Relationships between people can be complex. So, to help there are some good rules come follow. Because that example, once dealing with human being at occupational or v a friend, the is commonly a great idea to stay calm and also be easygoing.

Personal or functioning relationships have the right to be damaged if you shout at other world or gain angry with someone. This is particularly true if that particular “someone” helps you in a meaningful method – prefer making certain you get paid!

To define that situation, the English language has actually a an extremely useful expression: to bite the hand the feeds you.

This phrase method that girlfriend act badly towards the human who is help or has actually helped you. When you bite the hand that feeds you, you space being unthankful, ungrateful, unappreciative. And also that is a most “un” words. In other words, you revolve against, attack, and also even damage someone that is helping you.

We regularly use this expression as a native of advice -- as in don’t bite or you should not bite the hand the feeds you.

Now let’s usage it in one example.

Let’s speak someone involves your location of business and wants come buy something from girlfriend or also offer friend a possibility at a new job. But you, in return, space rude to the person. In that case, I can say come you: “You should not bite the hand the feeds you.”

This expression can likewise mean to turn versus someone who assisted you in the past. Supplied this way, you execute not display respect for someone who has been there for you.

Some civilization say this expression goes all the method back to ancient Greece. The poet Sappho was said to have used it over 2,600 year ago.


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Other experts claim that among Aesop’s Fables, referred to as “The Gardener and His Dog,” shows an example of this expression.

The story walk something choose this: A gardener’s dog was playing in a garden near a well and then fell in. The owner ran come help. He got to his hand right into the well to pull out his dog. Yet as the guy did this – the dog little bit him on the hand!

“What very ungrateful behavior! ns only came to help!” stated the gardener. So, that left the dog and walked away.

The dog little that hand that fed him. And also that to be a large mistake.

Here is another example.

Let’s say i am functioning as an internal designer. I enter people’s homes and also decide just how to boost them. I pick everything from wall surface paint and also floorings to artwork, tables, and also chairs.

Now, due to the fact that I own my very own business, my clients are really important come me. They are my ‘bread and also butter,’ meaning my earnings are based upon the money they salary me. If my clients room happy v my work, they will tell other people. And also that word-of-mouth business method more work and more money because that me.

But over there is a problem: I have a complicated client. He is always changing his mind about design decisions and also does not connect well. So, small issues often become large problems.

What must I do? on one hand, I might tell him come find an additional interior designer. On the other hand, I could just uncover a means to work with him. If the economic situation is weak, it might not be a great idea to lose a client, even a daunting one. I decide to not bite the hand that feeds me and also put up with the daunting client. If the economic situation improves, climate I deserve to show the the door!

And that’s our present for today. Shot using this expression. Have actually you ever before bitten the hand that fed you or perhaps someone little bit your hand?

Until following time ... I’m Anna Matteo.

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Words in This Story

ungrateful – adj. not emotion or showing thanks because that favors, help, gifts, etc.

unappreciative – adj. not giving recognition or many thanks for something

rude – adj. not having actually or showing worry or respect because that the rights and also feelings that other human being : no polite

gardener – n. one who spends time cultivating plants and tending a garden because that pleasure or recreation

client – n. a person who provides the professional advice or solutions of another

word-of-mouth – adj. oral communication

show who the door – slang expression to to escape of someone quickly and also without problem