cut (one's) teeth

cut (one's) teeth

To gain experience with something, especially at a young age (when one's teeth would be coming in). Oh, I cut my teeth on those kinds of equations! Give me a challenging problem for a change! Jen may be young, but she cut her teeth at a prestigious journal, so her perspective and expertise will be invaluable to us.
See also: cut, teeth

cut teeth

[for a baby or young person] to have new teeth emerging through the gums. Billy is cranky because he's cutting teeth. Ann cut her first tooth this week.
See also: cut, teeth

cut your teeth

COMMON If you cut your teeth doing something, you get your first experience of it and learn how to do it. He plans to cut his teeth on demanding theatre parts before making the break for TV and film. He cut his teeth in the sixties as director of Edinburgh's Traverse Theatre. Note: This expression can be varied by adding an adjective before teeth to show what sort of experience was gained. He had cut his editorial teeth on the London Evening Standard. Note: When a child cuts a tooth, the tooth begins to appear through the gum.
See also: cut, teeth