Indian Giver (1838)

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Sat Jul 8 18:07:40 UTC 2006

OED2 has 1860.

"Children And Their Concerns," by TSF, The New-York Mirror, 23 June 1838,

"Among them are distinct species of crimes and virtues. I have seen the
finger pointed at the Indian giver. (One who gives a present and demands it
back again.)"

The first OED2 cite is from 1860 in Bartlett's Dictionary of Americanisms.
But the term, with a slightly different and more informative gloss, also
appears in the 1848 edition of that work:

"INDIAN GIVER. When an Indian gives anything, he expects an equivalent in
return, or that the same thing may be given back to him. This term is
applied by children in New York and the vicinity to a child who, after
having given away a thing, wishes to have it back again."

--Dave Wilton
  dave at

The American Dialect Society -

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