Indian Giver, where does this come from?

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Lan | 16:30 Fri 15th Sep 2006 | Phrases & Sayings
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I'd heard this phrase quite alot when I was young but recently heard it in a song. I get that it means something along the lines of giving something to somebody and then taking it away again but where did it come from and why? Any ideas?


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Indian giver was termed when Native Americans would lend items to the settlers, in other words, let them borrow necessities. The settlers thought that this was a gift from the Native Americans; hence, they were shocked when the Native Americans asked for their items back.
Pretty close... Etymologies and Word Origins says: The noun Indian gift dates to 1765. Indian giver follows about a century later in 1865. Originally, these reflected simply the expectation of a return gift. By the 1890s, the sense had shifted to mean one who demands a gift back.

Probably comes from the native American winter ceremony of potlach, or competitive gift-giving. Villages would try to drive each other into penury by giving (and often destroying)increasingly valuable gifts.

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