give one's eyeteeth

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give one's eyeteeth

Also, give one's right arm. Go to any lengths to obtain, as in She'd give her eyeteeth for a mink coat, or He'd give his right arm for a new car. These hyperbolic expressions both allude to something precious, the eyeteeth (or canines) being useful for both biting and chewing and the right arm a virtual necessity for the 90 percent of the population who are right-handed. Both date from the first half of the 1900s, when the first replaced give one's eyes, from the mid-1800s.
See also: eyetooth, give
References in periodicals archive ?
That is why some people hate us and most people fear and distrust us -- even, often enough, the very people who'd give their eyeteeth to come live here and share our comforts.
Any city the size of Sarasota or larger would give their eyeteeth to have a facility like this, even if it were just for rentals alone.
This is the sort of thing that used to happen with the hippie capitalists Ben & Jerry, masters of media manipulation whose japes and pranks invariably generated journalistic attention that larger, more profitable companies would have given their eyeteeth to receive (if, in fact, they had any eyeteeth).
I cut my eyeteeth trapping furbearers and predators and at times, when fur prices were high, I made a pretty good living at trapping coyotes.
It was a role that most professional actresses would likely give their eyeteeth - or, more in keeping with the spirit of the thing, their eyesight - to play.
Singing as distinctively as another pioneer, Louis Armstrong, Brown cut his eyeteeth on swing.
Many young aspiring basketball players would give their eyeteeth to slam-dunk basketballs like the pros.
Personally, I learned volumes from my experience in the East Village, up to my eyeteeth in it as I was.
To prepare this week's cover story "The Warren Buffett You Don't Know," (Business Week, July 5, 1999), Senior Writer Anthony Bianco got an opportunity most investors -- not to mention journalists -- would trade their eyeteeth for: a chance to spend four days at Warren Buffett's side.
When Angela Oh argued that the commission should look "beyond" the black/white paradigm, John Hope Franklin is reported to have resisted that suggestion by replying that "'[t]his country cut its eyeteeth on racism in the black-white sphere.
Written by "Paul Rudnick"--which everybody knows is Libby Gelman-Waxner's nom de stage and cinema--the film is a modest, graceful, self-effacing comedy, replete with the divine, divine, divine Joan Cusack and Tom Selleck (who's never done anything for me before but here smooches with Kevin Kline and makes my eyeteeth throb with desire).
And let's say I return two weeks later with my face in full bloom, my weak chin nicely concealed beneath a healthy growth of soft, light-colored whiskers that any single girl would give her eyeteeth to bury her face in.