A Dog in the Manger

Meaning and Usage

“A dog in the manger” is an idiomatic expression that refers to someone who selfishly prevents others from using or enjoying something, even though they have no use for it themselves. It is often used to describe a person who is spiteful or envious, and who prevents others from having what they themselves do not want or cannot use.


  • “She’s like a dog in the manger, refusing to let anyone else have the job even though she hates it.”
  • “He wouldn’t sell the car to me, but he won’t use it either – he’s just being a dog in the manger.”
  • “She’s not interested in the project herself, but she’s still being a dog in the manger by not allowing anyone else to work on it.”


The expression “a dog in the manger” comes from an old fable about a dog who refused to let a hungry ox eat from a manger of hay, even though the dog had no use for the hay himself. The story dates back to ancient Greek times and was later adapted into a fable by the Latin author Phaedrus in the first century AD.


  • selfish
  • envious
  • spiteful
  • possessive
  • jealous
English Vocabularya piece of cakea hot potatoa man of lettersa fish out of watera dead lettera dead end
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Professor Emeritus of Educational Leadership University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill at Camford Publishing
Founder of On the Horizon (camford publishing)and The Technology Source, and professor of education at North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Dr. Morrison is author and co-author of over 200 publications focusing on educational planning and using information technology tools.Dr. Morrison has delivered numerous conference presentations and workshops for associations such as EDUCAUSE, AAHE, the College Board and others.He has served as a planning consultant to a number of colleges, universities, university systems, community colleges, educational agencies and public agencies such as the U.S. Department of Labor, and Department of the Army.His consulting activities focus on assisting organizations to integrate information technology tools in teaching and management.

The title of his Speech is “The Future of Distance Learning.” Professor Morrison will describe the driving forces that will affect education and distance learning in this decade and will focus on the implications of these forces for education and distance learning
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