• betray someone
      To turn against someone who has helped or supported you, often by harming or sabotaging them in some way

    • show ingratitude
      To act ungratefully or disrespectfully towards someone who has helped or provided for you in some way

    • be unappreciative
      To fail to recognize or acknowledge the assistance or support of someone who has helped or provided for you

Examples of Bite the hand that feeds

  • The famous actress, who had received numerous awards and accolades for her work, suddenly turned against the production company that had given her a break in the industry. This action left many in the industry baffled and wondering why she would "bite the hand that feeds" her.

    The idiom "bite the hand that feeds" refers to turning against the person or organization that has been providing support or resources to you. It's a metaphorical expression that suggests betraying someone who has been helping you, just as a person might literally bite the hand that feeds them. In the context of the example, the actress's unexpected actions left people questioning her loyalty and gratitude towards the production company that had given her a chance to succeed in the industry.


The common thread among the various meanings of this idiom is the idea of betraying or acting ungratefully towards someone who has helped or supported you. It implies a sense of biting the hand that has fed you, or turning against someone who has been kind to you.

In some cases, the idiom can also be used to refer to someone who is being unappreciative or taking advantage of someone else's generosity or kindness. It can be a warning or caution against behaving in a way that will ultimately harm or sabotage a relationship or opportunity.

Origin of "Bite the hand that feeds"

The origin of this idiom can be traced back to the 17th century, when it was first recorded in a collection of proverbs by English writer John Ray. The phrase "bite the hand that feeds you" likely evolved from the literal meaning of an animal biting the hand of its feeder, which was seen as a sign of ingratitude or aggression.

Over time, the idiom has become a well-known saying in many languages and cultures, and is often used in a figurative sense to refer to any act of betrayal or ingratitude towards someone who has provided support or assistance. It serves as a reminder to appreciate and value those who have helped us, and to not turn against them or take them for granted.