Like when people who receive free government aid, and complain about regulations on it. Not what the person would be called, but what it is called that they're doing.

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    How about "gifthorsemouthlooker"? – Sven Yargs Dec 13 '16 at 0:11
  • I'd reserve the gift horse thing for something else. Not that it doesn't work... kinda. But I'd say this has something more to do with gratitude; the lack of. OOPS... see below – user116032 Dec 13 '16 at 3:12
  • There is a difference between something which is given freely by an individual or a chartitable organisation and a benefit provided by the state: the state benefit is a legal entitlement whereas the others are voluntary. The state aid is more like payment of an insurance claim which the company must honour. Benefit recipients have a responsibility to abide by the rules of the benefit scheme but, as citizens and potential votors, also have a right to challenge the rules if they think they are unnecessarily onerous. The gift horse's mouth has nothing to do with state benefits. – BoldBen Dec 13 '16 at 8:00
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    Fred gave me his cold. Is it looking a gift hoarse in the mouth if I'm not grateful? – Hot Licks Dec 13 '16 at 21:51

Looking a gift horse in the mouth.

Don't question the value of a gift. The proverb refers to the practice of evaluating the age of a horse by looking at its teeth. This practice is also the source of the expression “long in the tooth,” meaning old.


  • That's the closest thing i can think of to what I'm trying to say. But i feel like there is a single word for it. – Skeebop Dec 13 '16 at 0:13
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    The obvious word @Skeebop is ungrateful, or perhaps thankless ;-) – Dan Dec 13 '16 at 0:31
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    Hi, Dan. Your answer was flagged automatically as low quality for its length (or probably link-only answer). I've edited your answer. Please take a look. – user140086 Dec 13 '16 at 0:39
  • @Dan Always my pleasure. Note some users downvote answers when they review them in the low-quality posts review queue. – user140086 Dec 13 '16 at 10:13

Not one word, but I would call this biting the hand that feeds you.

The Free Dictionary:

bite the hand that feeds you: to severely criticize the person or organization that helps you or pays you


Ungrateful is just about the closest thing to a one-word solution that I can think of. You would call them ungrateful and you would say that they are being ungrateful. Of course, ungrateful describes many other situations than just the one you're asking about; there are many more ways to be ungrateful than just complaining about something that was given to you for free. Which is likely why the idiom "to look a gift horse in the mouth" came about.

You look in a horse's mouth to determine whether or not the horse is healthy. So, when given the gift of a horse (which would be akin to being given an automobile today), looking it in the mouth instead of just accepting the gift would be considered rude as it would be a show of ingratitude, as if you might not accept the gift if it isn't good enough.

Looking a gift horse in the mouth is not quite the same thing as complaining about regulations on free government aid. They are both phrases that describe an act which would be considered ungrateful, but the first because one does not refuse a gift and the second because the aid was requested; it is not so much a gift as a FAVOR and it is considered ungrateful to complain about that at ALL.

Hope this helps.


Such people are just being unappreciative - not appreciating the value that something provides (and hence nitpicking on other, even minor aspects).


unappreciative ADJECTIVE

Not fully understanding, recognizing, or valuing something

‘So often football supporters are accused of being unforgiving and unappreciative.’


What would you call it when somebody complains about something that is given to them?

Someone who is not grateful is UNgrateful but someone who complains is an INgrate and thus INgrateful.

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