To give as a gift something that one received as a gift.n.
Isn't selling wedding gifts kind of ... tacky? I called Angela ... at work to get her take. And Angela, now Angela Wichita, said she wasn't trying to be tacky. Just practical. These are gifts she didn't register for, won't use and can't return.
"My husband said we should just recycle them as wedding gifts."
But Angela thinks some of the presents may have been regifted once or twice already.
—Rainbow Rowell, "Wedding gifts get new life in sale," Omaha World-Herald, August 2, 2002
Call it tacky, rude, maybe even thoughtless, but "regifting" is about as ritualistic as giving away that lump of jellied fruit every year. A two-year study of appalling habits has found that most Americans have done it. According to the study, reported in Bernice Kanner's book Are You Normal?, 54 percent of Americans rewrap, rebox and resend unwanted presents. Regifting is a brilliant concept, really. Everyone needs to reroute a few ugly, useless gifts this time of year.
—Maile Carpenter, "The gift you keep on giving," Wilmington Star-News (Wilmington, NC), December 3, 1995
Today's word originated with that always reliable source of neologisms, the TV show Seinfeld. Regift (and the noun regifter) appeared in the episode titled The Label Maker, which first aired on January 19, 1995. It took a while, but regift eventually embedded itself in the language. The proof? I found dozens of media citations that used the word without referencing its Seinfeldian origins. That's not surprising since the word fills in a language gap and succinctly describes something that the majority of us have done (see the earliest citation for a stat).
Here's the script snippet where regift was used in that Seinfeld episode (regifter was used earlier in the show; note, as well, yet another neologism: degift):
George: The wedding is off. Now you can go to
the Super Bowl.
Jerry: I can't call Tim Whatley and ask for the
George: You just gave them to him two days ago,
he's gotta give you a grace period.
Jerry: Are you even vaguely familiar with the
concept of giving? There's no grace period.
George: Well, didn't he regift the label maker?
George: Well, if he can regift, why can't you
Jerry: You may have a point.
George: I have a point, I have a point.