Do You Give Presents or Gifts?

gift, present, Christmas

Where do the words gift and present come from? Why does English use both? It’s not just so that children can ask for toys in multiple ways.

Language is not a linear, predestined development. Even though it may feel as if the language we speak is in some way the logical conclusion of thousands of years of development, every word that we use has a unique, sometimes circuitous history.

The word gift wandered through multiple meanings before arriving at its current common meaning: “something given voluntarily without payment in return, as to show favor toward someone, honor an occasion, or make a gesture of assistance.” In Old English, its most dominant meaning was “payment for a wife,” or a dowry. Gift originates in the Proto-Indo-European base ghabh- which came from the Sanskrit word gabhasti meaning “hand or forearm.” (Gabhasti is also the root of the word habit.) While gift became associated only with marriage payments, the related verb give followed a different trajectory of meaning; it denoted the specific act of putting something in someone else’s hands, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. Around the 1300s, the word gift began to assume a more general meaning of an object freely given to another person.

But what about its synonym present? Present was imported into English from Old Norman (also called Old French). Present originally meant the same thing as the adjective present, “being there.” It was used in the French phrase mettre en present, to mean “to offer in the presence of.” By the early 1300s, it became synonymous with the thing being offered. (Present did not acquire the sense of “the present time” until the 1500s.)

A more recent evolution of the term came in the popular word regift. The word refers to the common practice of giving away a gift that you received from someone else, like candles, bubble bath, and ugly slippers.

If gift and present do not suffice, you could always use one of these gift-related terms:

(When did gifts become an essential part of the Christmas holiday? Learn more about Santa and his sidekicks here.)

Do you use gift and present in different ways?

Cartoon: Kids Play Across Platforms.(Cartoon Network)

Multichannel News February 19, 2007 | Reynolds, Mike By Mike Reynolds New York– At its Valentine’s Day upfront presentation, Cartoon Network executives spoke sweetly about kids’ love for its multiplatform vehicles and how advertisers could shower them with sponsorship reach and affection.

Cartoon executives extolled the virtues of its continued push into digital with broadband networks Toonami Jetstream in July and the Cartoon Network Video, which began screening original-series episodes in the fall. Together, the services generate 20 million monthly video streams.

Cartoon’s online gaming services, meanwhile, collectively attracted 2 billion game plays in 2006. No doubt, there will be more with the introduction of Gadget Games, which features a Web cam so players can get inside the contests; and Mini-Match, which aspires to spawn a safe social world where kids create their characters and challenge each other. site cartoon network video

Senior vice president and general manager of new media Paul Condolora demonstrated CallToons, a new endeavor integrating smart technology with the voice of Cartoon Network characters on mobile phones. The product is expected to be available in the fourth quarter.

On the programming side, the focus will remain largely on boys 6 to 11, where Cartoon said it leads the way with a 43% share. All told, Cartoon’s largest output ever will yield 662 new half-hour episodes of returning series and two dozen new premiere movies, including Ben 10-Live-Action Movie , driven from the popular series, and specials. cartoonnetworkvideo.org cartoon network video

Among the latter: the multimedia Props , in which 16 kids, engaging in sports, music, art or hobbies, will be profiled this summer on-air and online, leading to a one-hour TV show in September for six finalists.

Senior vice president promotions marketing Phyllis Ehrlich said that as was the case when Andre Benjamin’s Class of 3000 bowed last year, Cartoon will back its upcoming specials via an array of sponsorable vehicles that could encompass online, video streaming, video-on-demand fare, podcasting, sweepstakes, customized spots and even on-pack or in-store tie-ins.

Five new series are also on tap: Santo (working title), based on the legend of a real-life wrestling hero; Chowder , about the misadventures of a very hungry young chef’s apprentice; The Secret Saturdays , centering on scientists who protect against the world’s terrifying things; The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack , in which a boy inside a whale heads for a magical dessert-ed island; and Re-Animated , based on the network’s first animated/ live-action film.

Reynolds, Mike


  1. YSQR -  July 6, 2015 - 8:50 am

    I always use present: i have a present for you… but sometimes i said gift, but sometimes

  2. ghosttree -  June 6, 2015 - 4:02 am

    Presents are given to people you’re related or close to. Gifts are for acquaintances.

    • Skibitom@gmail.com -  September 10, 2015 - 10:45 am

      I love to obtain gifts.
      I look forward for something.
      Tomasz Skaba

  3. Prodip Kumar -  May 9, 2015 - 6:50 pm

    OK, It is interest to me that I use it different situation. I use gift only give something to others which is not return.

  4. Doreen -  April 3, 2015 - 3:31 am

    What is the validity of that horrible word used on buses, i.e. 40 seated, 19 standees. The ee ending usually means the object of an action – if you are a nominee, someone has nominated you; if you are an amputee, someone has amputated some part of you. So how can anyone be a standee? Why did they change from the normal sounding 19 standing, which after all describes what those unlucky passengers are doing

  5. Federico Bär -  December 19, 2014 - 9:46 am

    Entertaining question.

    In my opinion, the funniest comment among those that I’ve read, came from:
    TheUltimateGifterofGifts – December 12, 2013 – 11:21 am

    [[[ This lagniappe was like a succor to me for potlatch information about bonhomie because it is about beneficence! It was thouroghly intresting article and I will impress my friends with it! Thank you! ]]]

    But the most “useful” explanation was offered by:
    Pavan Saini – December 26, 2013 – 3:26 am

    {{{ ‘Gift’ are given from higher hierarchy to lower one; and are not expected to get back in return. While ‘present’ is exchanged in equal level. }}}


  6. digusted -  December 19, 2014 - 7:32 am

    Hey Hubie! Get over yourself! Pseudo-intellectual expounding is so droll…

  7. Luis -  January 1, 2014 - 4:24 pm

    I never really thought about the this…

  8. wolf tamer and tree puncher -  December 31, 2013 - 3:45 am

    I just thought of something the other day: We use gift wrap and gift bags, but not “present wrap” or “present bags.” Maybe just because “gift wrap” is quicker to say? Or maybe another reason? Whatever, Happy New Year, Dictionary.com Blog community! And to all you Minecrafters out there: May you discover diamonds, never be slain by zombies, and build the best world Minecraft has ever seen! Happy New Year!

    • Quentin -  December 18, 2014 - 6:39 am

      I like Minecraft so thx

    • Mela -  February 24, 2015 - 6:07 pm

      Hey wolf tamer and tree puncher I am a mincrafter and I have MANY chests full of diamonds! Thx for the blessing! LOL

  9. Håkan -  December 30, 2013 - 3:07 pm

    Proto-Indo-European didn’t come from Sanskrit, it’s the other way around. Sanskrit came from PIE. “Gabhasti” is just a parallel evolution.

  10. Tomas -  December 27, 2013 - 3:15 am

    I buy some presentes in gift store!?

    • Laughing -  December 19, 2014 - 10:36 pm


  11. Pavan Saini -  December 26, 2013 - 3:26 am

    ‘Gift’ are given from higher hierarchy to lower one; and are not expected to get back in return. While ‘present’ is exchanged in equal level.

  12. OUEDRAOGO Patindyalogo Brice -  December 20, 2013 - 10:45 am

    network is amazing

  13. HubertHintelnichtsnervertlachen -  December 13, 2013 - 7:28 am

    It’s somewhat hard to describe the differences I find between what I call “gifts” and what I call “presents”, but I can feel the difference when I imagine instances where things of each kind are given, and my behavior seems to vary with regularity in the imagined instances. It seems I distribute “gifts” when my motivation to distribute them is emotional or personal rather than formal, social, or obligatory; e.g., cases in which I “have to” give by purchasing something from a wedding registry for folks I don’t know too well, when I don’t invest much in the process, are presents. On the other hand, I would repay a kindness with a gift, particularly a gift I selected. The distinction is fuzzy; what I’m “obliged” to do on Christmas or other holidays seems more like giving “gifts” when I consider what I’ll give and when I am close to the recipient. It seems that “gift” is more serious, in a sense, or has more emotional weight, and I think I sometimes use “present” as a diminutive or part of an endearment. (-_-;;) If I talk to my wife in a dopey, cutely sweet voice I might ask if she wants a present, drawing out the first syllable.

  14. TheUltimateGifterofGifts -  December 12, 2013 - 11:21 am

    This lagniappe was like a succor to me for potlatch information about bonhomie because it is about beneficence! It was thouroghly intresting article and I will impress my friends with it! Thank you!

  15. aThought -  December 12, 2013 - 9:22 am

    Anyone who uses these words are idiots(using it just because they see an article like this) or snobs (often using words that aren’t common practice among those who don’t use such language, displaying some sort of “superior” status).

  16. Jarod -  December 11, 2013 - 10:55 am

    At school sopposed to be doing my work but I am not ;) I AM BAD

  17. Jarod -  December 11, 2013 - 10:54 am

    Well I sorta sorta,

  18. Caity -  December 10, 2013 - 1:21 pm

    Interesting post, cool to read about the origins of the words and how they truly derive from verbs describing basic physical acts (giving by hand, standing in the presence of…) and have now become common nouns to express more specific concepts. Personally, though, I do not see much of any difference between the two words, other than the etymology!

  19. Novelist -  December 10, 2013 - 11:56 am

    I use gift to refer to the object being given but seem to more often use present for the wrapped box.

    I think the reason we have so many occasions where two or more words have the same meaning is American English consists of so many languages. By borrowing from French, Spanish, German, etc., we ad color, clarity and meaning, which allows for richer, more interesting communication.

    I guess it comes down to ‘if we like your word better, we’ll borrow it’.

  20. wolf tamer and tree puncher -  December 10, 2013 - 4:51 am

    And speaking of presents/gifts, I’m not sure what to give my BFF for Christmas. She’s a 12-year-old girl who will be 13 in Feb. I’m thinking of giving her either a quiz book or a book full of adorable animal posters. Ideas, anyone?

    If you’re reading this comment and play WolfQuest, watch (or even make) WolfQuest videos, or have at least heard of WolfQuest, please let me know. I’m trying to find other WolfQuesters in the world. Thanks.

    • Katie -  January 2, 2015 - 9:00 am

      I’m a twelve year old, and I advise you to get your BFF a topmodel book. I think pretty much all girls must like them, cos they are so so so so fun!

      • Katie -  January 2, 2015 - 9:02 am

        Or you could give it to her for her bday since Christmas is over.

  21. ralph -  December 10, 2013 - 4:17 am

    You people who “don’t care” or who say “why does it matter” are at the wrong site. This is for people who do care about language and its details. Go read about Beyonce somewhere!

  22. Mike -  December 9, 2013 - 4:17 pm

    Near the end of the discussion of gift vs. present (on http://blog.dictionary.com/gift/) is the sentence “(Present did not acquire the sense of “the present tim” until the 1500s.)”
    The “present tim” may be a “typo”, or else I just don’t know the phrase.

  23. Renee -  December 9, 2013 - 2:12 pm

    Children tend (at least in the Midwest, where I’m from) to call a wrapped-up box with a bow a “present.” For that reason I’ve always objected to phonics curricula that use a picture of such an object alongside the letter “G” to prompt for the /g/ sound–so a child concludes that “G” is pronounced /p/, as in “present.” There are a lot of these confusing sound-symbol pairs in children’s books and phonics programs that reveal a lack of consideration of regional differences in language and culture on the part of curriculum designers.

    • sarah -  December 2, 2014 - 5:09 pm

      i love aneything

  24. wolf tamer and tree puncher -  December 8, 2013 - 5:04 am

    I use ‘gift’ and ‘present’ synonymously. Usually, I give Christmas presents and birthday presents, but I give a gift to a host (or hostess). ‘Gift’ also has the connotation (to me) of being something smaller and less expensive, like a candle or a CD. A present would be something bigger, like a video game.

  25. Laila -  December 7, 2013 - 7:08 am

    Also, ‘gift’ seems more posh, e.g. ‘Thanx for my presents, babez.’ ‘Thank you ever so much for my most wonderful gifts.’ …Or is that just me?

  26. Laila -  December 7, 2013 - 7:03 am

    I think I referrer to a present I the usual ‘something has been given to you’ way, but gift for me is more specifically used as ‘jewellery has been given to you’. I don’t know why…

  27. Daniel -  December 6, 2013 - 12:15 pm

    One presents (verb) a present (noun) and gives (verb) a gift (noun).

  28. Ruth -  December 5, 2013 - 11:39 pm

    I find it interesting that the word “gift” had also had the more specific meaning of “marriage payment”. In Scandinavian languages “gift” means married (incidentally it also means poison, like in German). And the verb “gifte” means “to get married”.

  29. bob=evilunicornbutt1254 -  December 5, 2013 - 11:04 pm

    so what is the difference??????

  30. Sukanya -  December 5, 2013 - 12:40 am

    Thanks for the insights…and I liked most of the comments too. As kids in India we always said “presents.” I hear the word gifts”" more these days and use it more often too. I always thought it was a British hangover that got overtaken by US-English.
    Very few people say Presents in India…usually restricted to large/expensive gifts like the kind you take to a wedding.
    It follows then that the Just because kind of presents qualify for the word gifts.
    Re-gifting saves lives, pennies and pounds. I endorse. The word and the custom.

  31. ColorfulSocks -  December 4, 2013 - 10:42 am

    What an interesting question! I’ve noticed that I use ‘gift’ for giving or receiving spontaneously, but ‘present’ is for planned occasions like birthdays and xmass. While gifts and presents don’t obligate repayment, it’s kinda an automatic reaction to reciprocate. ‘Gifts’ get immediate or soon thereafter reciprocation (from me) and ‘presents’ get reciprocated on the next annual occasion (their birthday or closest major holiday).

  32. Bob6431 -  December 3, 2013 - 8:27 am

    I give presents but not gifts. I have presents at hoildays but give gifts when it isn’t a hoilday.

  33. C Cameron -  December 3, 2013 - 7:38 am

    Sorry, but I think you meant the Sanskrit word evolved from the PIE word, not the other way around.
    ["Gift originates in the Proto-Indo-European base ghabh- which came from the Sanskrit word gabhasti meaning “hand or forearm.” ]

  34. blueby -  December 2, 2013 - 1:23 pm


  35. oniya -  February 25, 2012 - 4:46 pm

    you have a gift to your family are son i am sorry just had to vent

  36. Lefty -  December 29, 2011 - 10:23 am

    ReGifting Should be a Crime!! I just found out that the gifts my sister gave to my mother were sent to me by my mother taking credit for them! I called to thank my mother but talked to my sister instead and told her to thank her for all the wonderful gifts and that’s when l found out the truth! Sorry just had to vent!!

  37. Jeanna -  December 15, 2011 - 11:20 am

    I don’t really use either, except when I “have to” get someone a present… I say present, but in my mind, I just said gift. ^-^
    Anyway (that’s another, I say differently in my head, anywho), gift seems like a cuter word. Have you noticed how smaller things are usually cuter? Present seems more mandatory… >_<

  38. gift giver and present picker -  December 13, 2011 - 2:45 pm

    I tend to think that gifts are “smaller” tokens of appriciation given to express emotion. Presents and “larger” gifts typically given for special holidays or Christmas. I mean… listen to all of the songs on the radio, or the adds!
    “The best christmas present ever….”
    “All i want is a present under my tree…”

  39. kdiadican -  December 7, 2011 - 5:42 am

    in philippines, we only use one word for these two english words: “regalo”..they say it came from spaniard people way back 1700ad.

  40. Person -  December 5, 2011 - 3:06 pm

    does it really matter i use both

  41. dogdude -  December 5, 2011 - 2:23 pm


  42. Kinaia -  December 5, 2011 - 1:44 pm

    For me it is: presents, presents, and PRESENTS. I rarely use gift, knowing that they may (or may not) mean the same thing

  43. charles -  December 5, 2011 - 1:13 pm

    I don’t give a damn about whether to use gift or present, i just use both.

  44. jake -  December 5, 2011 - 1:09 pm

    that is intresting

  45. Tanvir Zawad -  December 5, 2011 - 12:52 pm

    Everything is predestined.

  46. Logen -  December 5, 2011 - 12:34 pm

    I give presents not gifts. My mom told me to call them Gifts but I don’t CARE!

  47. Wondering -  December 5, 2011 - 11:47 am

    “A Trojan Horse has come to mean any trick or stratagem that causes a target to invite a foe into a securely protected bastion or space.” (Wikipedia)
    This might supose a ‘fair’ explanation to the german reference “gift” as poison.

    • Spartanwolf66 -  December 19, 2014 - 1:21 pm

      So true, I think you are on to something.

  48. alex masso -  December 5, 2011 - 11:05 am

    who really cares if gifts are called gifts or presents

  49. LA-Lawyer -  December 5, 2011 - 11:01 am

    “Gift” is a specific legal term of art and there are few things less evocative of Christmas and Goodwill toward Mankind than dragging a bunch of lawyers into the philosophical mix. Therefore, I prefer to convey TOYS or BOODLE. And, all joking aside regarding the German translation of “gift”, let us be thankful that the one left in Koblenz during WWII did not cause more mischief than it did. Peace.

  50. RachelAllison -  December 5, 2011 - 10:24 am

    Oh, and I usually use gift and present as synonyms…

  51. RachelAllison -  December 5, 2011 - 10:24 am

    The way that words and languages evolve is very interesting, to say the least…. thanks for the informative article! :)

  52. mad hater -  December 5, 2011 - 9:20 am

    cool gift means poison

  53. DukeMutt -  December 5, 2011 - 8:49 am

    I use present and pronounced (preezent) as in presentation e.g. the presentation of a power-point. However, I also tend to use it as a synonym for gift, I also use it more often than I use gift. I tend to use the term “present” when I am giving something, and “gift” when I’m receiving something (e.g. “I have a present for you.” and “Oh, you got me a gift? Thank you!”).

  54. Chan -  December 5, 2011 - 8:49 am

    The Anglo-Saxons were very clever in hiding the meaning of words from non-fluent hearers of their language, perhaps in an effort to thwart espionage. The Anglo-Saxon languages sometimes used similar words to convey opposite ideas. For instance host and hostile have the same root and have opposite meanings. Likewise the word “gift”, as has been pointed out in above comments, have had two different ideas attached, and the contrasting ideas survives in modern English and German where the word means “a present” in one language and “poison” in the other.

  55. Rajesh Mehta -  December 5, 2011 - 5:31 am

    i see gift as something given to a known person as a mark of love, respect, celebration…… while present is something given to normally unknown or as an official offering for a work worth commending.

  56. Ritamarthe -  December 5, 2011 - 5:03 am

    Uhm—excuse me. . . .I meant to say “so much fun”, which only goes to show how important proofing is.
    And, a gift, to me, means no expectation in return; it is unconditional.

  57. Ritamarthe -  December 5, 2011 - 4:54 am

    Thanks Vikhaari for your input, and to everyone else. Words are so much. This website is a “gift”.

  58. sasha -  December 5, 2011 - 2:24 am

    I dont kn,let me think about it.

  59. Jayaprakash -  December 5, 2011 - 1:07 am

    Gift is something which you receive from someone greater than you, by age or position. By that token, you cannot make a “gift” to someone greater than you. You can only give a “present”. That is why we refer to people as “gifted” (by God perhaps) and not “presented”, when we see some talent in them. Presenting is an act of humility and love. “Present” has both the meanings of “giving” and “being there.” When you “present” or “are present”, it means that you love and respect the person to whom you present or before whom you are present.

  60. Niddhi -  December 4, 2011 - 8:18 pm

    If i go by the past meanings… then none of the word fits the gesture or the intention of giving gifts/presents(as interpreted now). What word was used at that time for this gesture for which we now use gift or present?

  61. J Just J -  December 4, 2011 - 6:36 pm

    For me, while I sometimes use ‘gift’ to mean ‘present,’ I believe they have different meanings. A present is a thing, something tangible. It’s the thing you give or receive. But a gift is from the heart. True gifts are love and time, parts of oneself, that the objects (presents) represent.

  62. pk -  December 4, 2011 - 6:32 pm

    oops sorry. Left comment on wrong article.

  63. pk -  December 4, 2011 - 6:31 pm

    Both undergone and underwent are acceptable for the past tense of undergo according to dictionary.com. Other sites may vary, but don’t be so mean!

  64. priscilla -  December 4, 2011 - 11:13 am

    gift when there is no special occasion. present when there is a special occasion.

  65. Socrates -  December 4, 2011 - 9:26 am

    “Present” is derived from (late) Latin: praesentare = to present, and is the root of (french) présenter, (spanish) presentar, (german) praesentieren et al., and signifies a formal way of giving a gift.

    “Gift” is derived from give, (indogerman) Gabe, (Sanscrit) ghab. While in modern german “Gift” means poison, its original meaning of “Gabe” is preserved in “Mitgift” (= Mitgabe = dowry), a present given (along) with the bride away.

    By its origin, therefore, “present” (german: Praesént) represents a more formal, elegant, expensive type of “gift” and has preserved this etiquette outside the english language (and perhaps inside it?)

  66. Mike -  December 4, 2011 - 8:28 am

    We in Russia have only one word for this – podarok (something that we ‘darim’ (give for free) to someone)

  67. Katkit -  December 4, 2011 - 8:22 am

    german s poison for gift. scared noww

  68. J.J.Rousseau -  December 4, 2011 - 7:42 am

    Boxing Day? Oui — Non — Nothing. Woof.

  69. Jessica -  December 4, 2011 - 6:46 am

    if it’s something small, i name it a gift. Like giving a friend a gift just because. But if it’s during Christmas or someone’s birthday, I would call it a present

  70. Emy -  December 4, 2011 - 12:07 am

    I mostly like to give gift and receive present

  71. i-witness -  December 3, 2011 - 10:20 pm

    if that was so, i would give my boss a german “Gift”..haha lol xD

  72. TETO -  December 3, 2011 - 10:17 pm

    It’s personal but….. I don’t want gifts or presents and I dislike shopping intensely so I don’t want to give gifts or presents. I know Bah Humbug to you guys. If you want to please me don’t give me “stuff”, telephone me and we will laugh and I will enjoy your voices. All this is because I am ancient.

  73. DolphinGirl -  December 3, 2011 - 5:28 pm

    Me and my parents always say gift.

  74. Jordan -  December 3, 2011 - 4:46 pm

    Gift sounds a lot like give.

  75. Izaya -  December 3, 2011 - 3:10 pm

    Hmm… I give gifts. Receive gifts.

    I have presents for special occastions because it just sounds more… Romantic? Gifts, everybody get’s those, but only someone special get’s a present.


    That’s how I differ them.

  76. Ariane -  December 3, 2011 - 2:26 pm

    I really love this website. I learn something new everyday.

  77. GoGuapoGo -  December 3, 2011 - 1:59 pm

    I dont know, I just want either one for christmas.

  78. PalePink -  December 3, 2011 - 1:27 pm

    A gift can be a blessing, while a present must be an object. The word present is a homonym, but the word gift isn’t.

    @Vikhaari: One of my friends is Bengali. (I live in the U.S; land of the diverse mosaic), and she told me some words in Bengali (or Bangla). She said that ‘haat’ is hand, so when reading your post, I felt kind of excited to recognize what you wrote.
    @Dieter: Haha. Nice one. (:

  79. whatsittoya -  December 3, 2011 - 1:24 pm


  80. Evan -  December 3, 2011 - 12:53 pm

    I always thought “present” referred to something physically given, like toys, food, etc. Whereas “gift” could refer to non-physical things,oftentimes thought to be “gifts from god”: examples, the “gift of good luck”, of rainfall during typically dry seasons, etc. Don’t people sometimes refer to their children as gifts?

    Great article! Never thought I’d spend this much time thinking about presents! (at least not at this age. Ha!)

  81. EvilolivE -  December 3, 2011 - 12:38 pm

    “The past is history, the future is a mystery, but today is a gift—that’s why they call it ‘the present’” – kung fu panda.

  82. Joan -  December 3, 2011 - 12:11 pm

    after reading this i realized tht u can gift a present or you can present a gift :)

  83. GIFT | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  December 3, 2011 - 12:03 pm

    [...] ‘Gift’ or curse? — ‘Present’ what it is, — whether ‘Lagniappe’ or ‘Succor’ — There need not be a ‘Potlatch’. — For that, we’re none the worse. — ‘Bonhomie’ should never take a holiday — Be a Biker or a Trucker — or any point of ritualistic reference — The ‘Present’ is to Be Here Now — to not anoint but authentic ‘Beneficence’. –>>L.T.Rhyme This entry was posted in DICTCOMHOTWORD, L.T.Rhyme and tagged LT, LTRhyme, the HOT WORD by admin. Bookmark the permalink. [...]

  84. pam g -  December 3, 2011 - 11:35 am

    I use ‘gift’ more like something I give to someone for a special fancy occasion, like a wedding. I use ‘present’ almost exclusively at Christmas time. Weird, huh. I never thought about that until now.

  85. Vikhaari -  December 3, 2011 - 11:09 am

    1Ystrdy, th moment I postd my blog on GIFT2 Dictnry.com#dscrepancy:blue hd 8 & dp RED hd 9, so Univ of Toronto do intercept, inspect & release at own whim
    2Both #s show same as I came to schl’s DCoLib, after 10am and saw th above said 12, that is blue said 12 & the dp RED too. So, Univ of Tor, what’s gog on!
    3In th past I think th Univ of Toronto didn’t post a couple of multiple writgs, cry 4 hlp, 2 Dictnry.com.
    4Simultaneous postgs of above three pieces 2 Dictionary.com. Forgive me, please. I see clearly no one cares HERE.., yet still….

  86. Dieter -  December 3, 2011 - 10:56 am

    German ‘Gift’ for English ‘poison’.
    I should say, however, that it is our ‘poison’ that has deviated from its course, as ‘poison’ has its origin in the Latin ‘potio’ for ‘potion’ via French ‘poison’. So no obvious ‘gift’ involved here, then, unless it has something to do with ‘giving’ someone a potion

  87. sara -  December 3, 2011 - 10:48 am

    hahaha dec 1 was my birthday and i didnt get a gift or present

  88. stephanie -  December 3, 2011 - 10:42 am

    i think that i woulod rather do presents than anything else cause who doesnt like a good present

  89. Dieter -  December 3, 2011 - 10:36 am

    @Dan German ‘Gift’ for poison?
    Well, according to the Duden etymological dictionary it has a similar history as our English ‘gift’, namely something ‘given/presented’ and arrived via Old High-German which of course influenced our Anglo-Saxon origins. The only difference is of course, it was given for different purposes, one highly commendable and other highly condemnable

  90. jasper -  December 3, 2011 - 10:25 am

    I give gifts and recieve presents …

  91. Sara -  December 3, 2011 - 10:10 am

    As far as I can recall, I use them both for casual occasions. But when it feels like a more formal occasion, I will most likely only use gift.

    I’ll have to start monitoring myself and see if that’s 100% true :).

  92. DEMACIA!!!!! -  December 3, 2011 - 9:49 am

    I say gift and present

  93. bholland -  December 3, 2011 - 9:41 am

    interesting commentary.
    Thanks for the input.

  94. falon497 -  December 3, 2011 - 9:21 am

    to me: gift=nicer word, less selfish & unasking (is that a word? it is now!) but present=something little kids might say like “i want my presents!” (yes, rude, i know, but we’ve all been there!) but a teen might say (myself inculded) “may i open my gifts now?”
    see the difference?
    i agree w/ @vanessa
    <3 ya babes! mwah!

  95. Majora -  December 3, 2011 - 7:25 am

    I’ve always “given gifts” but “open presents”
    I guess to me its a present once its wrapped and put under the tree… not sure why

  96. A-18-K -  December 3, 2011 - 6:44 am

    I use both the word present and gift as basically the same word, but I pronounce ‘present’ differently from the context as a gift and the context as ‘to present yourself to the audience’. As a gift, I pronounce the first e as a soft e sound, but as in presenting something, I pronounce the first e as ‘uh’ sound. But when I say ‘presentation’ I still say the first e as the soft e…but, whatever. :)

  97. Saluton -  December 3, 2011 - 6:43 am

    ‘Gift’ can also be a synonym for ‘talent’. We can refer to a person’s talents as gifts, i.e. as something God or their destiny gave them, but not as presents. Why isn’t it mentioned in the article?

  98. Meowws -  December 2, 2011 - 11:30 pm

    12 years old kids said presents, adults says gift! grow up up gtfo!

  99. Vanessa -  December 2, 2011 - 4:48 pm

    Gift always feels a little more formal to me—a child might say, “I got a really cool present this Christmas,” but a donation or formal/political offering would be a gift.

  100. Vikhaari -  December 2, 2011 - 3:34 pm

    It’s fun to give/gift as well as receive/presents.

    I wish I was in Benaras, India now only to know and learn about the term gabhasti (Benaras is the cultural/intellectual capital….)

    Gabhasti you see the term is of two syllable: Gab- & -hasti. Forgive me I need to divert a little to state a bit about Bengali, my mother tongue, and Bengali originates from Sanskrit, and back home it is haat (soft t, mind you) is for hand. In the mean time in Sanskrit it is haustau (my spelling because within each and every Sanskrit consonant, there is this au, as in automatic; it is already in there) or hasti/hand (According to me it should be hausti) at a more primitive time, perhaps, when the noted term came into being. However, look at this beauty of gabhasti, it is definately a saundhi/sandhi, as you know the spelling, for the joining of two words prefix gab- and suffix, -hasti. Now if the -hasti is the hand/limb what is the prefix gab-? I can think of nothing but that what is given, which we learned already, gift.

    Gab- is given or that is given/gift to someone using some vehicle–hand/-hasti. In Sanskrit that’s how it goes, one is nothing without the other like wheel and carriage etc. So what’s the use of give/gift if we can’t gab-/give/gift using our own two, preferrably, hands/-hasti?

    As usual it’s very interesting. And as usual again enjoyed it very much.


  101. LadyGuapo -  December 2, 2011 - 3:17 pm

    I use present and gift in different ways. If it is a surprise or a birthday/holiday I use the word “present”, but for things I must buy (i.e. mandatory gift for co-workers, apology gift, etc.) I use the word “gift”.

  102. Cyberquill -  December 2, 2011 - 3:11 pm

    Gift is the German word for poison, so unless I intend to whack somebody, I give presents.

  103. sherryyu -  December 2, 2011 - 2:55 pm

    i would say its gift

  104. RB -  December 2, 2011 - 2:09 pm

    When referring to a box wrapped in colorful paper, I use gift and present interchangeably. However, in my line of work (fundraising), we will often refer to donations as “gifts,” but never as “presents.”

  105. Beth -  December 2, 2011 - 1:40 pm

    Most people I know use present singularly- “I have to buy them a present-” and gift more formally, or plurally- “Time for the gift exchange!”

  106. smoothius -  December 2, 2011 - 1:01 pm

    and can you not also present a gift?

  107. Dan -  December 2, 2011 - 12:48 pm

    The English translation of the german word “Gift” is poison. How did the two develop so differently?

  108. clivebeesley -  December 2, 2011 - 12:23 pm

    Looks like I can present the first Gift on this subject today!

  109. SC Johnson -  December 2, 2011 - 11:53 am

    No, I use gift and present synonymously. Something you give someone not requiring something in return OR repayment. Usually to mark an occasion but not necessarily, something you sincerely want that person to have.


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