dog in the manger

noun phrase

: a person who selfishly withholds from others something useless to himself

Word History


from the fable of the dog who prevented an ox from eating hay which he did not want himself

First Known Use

1573, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of dog in the manger was in 1573

Dictionary Entries Near dog in the manger

Cite this Entry

“Dog in the manger.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jun. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!