Definition of dog in the manger in English:

dog in the manger


  • A person who has no need of, or ability to use, a possession that would be of use or value to others, but who prevents others from having it.

    ‘what a dog in the manger you must be!’
    [as adjective] ‘she can be so dog in the manger about updating things in the office’
    • ‘However, the ECB has maintained its dog-in-the-manger stance on inflation currently 0.2% above the official target rate of 0.2%.’
    • ‘Even more worrying than Brenda's frightening new role as top dog in the manger is the news that a woman is going to be the next president of Zimbabwe.’
    • ‘As the Christian writer CS Lewis said, it would ‘make a dog in the manger a tyrant of the universe’.’
    • ‘A closer inspection of the county council report gives a big clue as to why it was being so dog in the manger about the whole affair - the fear of being held liable for injuries.’
    • ‘The only way to do it is to evict the dog in the manger and put a person there who has the confidence of the majority rather than just his brothers, cousins and business friends.’
    • ‘This objection is simply dog in the manger stuff,’ he said.’
    • ‘Fixed-cost benefits and payroll taxes with ceilings are a dog-in-the-manger, making Canadian employers resistant to voluntary, individual reductions in work time.’
    • ‘Still, I suppose you can't prevent progress, and I shouldn't be a dog in the manger.’
    • ‘No sooner had the Finance Minister announced the decentralisation plan in his latest Budget than the begrudgers in Dublin were adopting a dog-in-the-manger attitude.’
    shrew, curmudgeon, discontent, complainer, grumbler, moaner, fault-finder, carper
    View synonyms


Late 16th century: alluding to the fable of the dog that lay in a manger to prevent the ox and horse from eating the hay.


dog in the manger

/ˌdɒɡ ɪn ðə ˈmeɪndʒə/