What’s the meaning of “A caval donato non si guarda in bocca”?

A caval donato non si guarda in bocca in Italian

A caval donato non si guarda in bocca.
Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

Literal translationYou don’t check the mouth of a gift horse
MeaningYou shouldn’t look for flaws in a gift you’ve been given, but simply appreciate it
IPA pronunciation/a kaˈval doˈnaːto non si ˈɡwarda in ˈbokka/

Where does this come from? Bad teeth belong to older animals, and older animals are worth less on the market. It’d be rude to focus on them when the horse (cavallo) is given to you (donato). A horse’s mouth (bocca) is usually not a pleasant sight, and in the past, checking on the animal’s teeth was a way to estimate its age for business purposes.

dentist cleaning a customer's teeth - a caval donato non si guarda in bocca
  • Guardare (to look)
  • Donare (to donate)
  • Cavallo (horse)
  • Bocca (mouth)
  • In (preposition)
  • Prepositions
  • All Italian expressions

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