have teeth(redirected from had teeth)
To have enough power or support of authority to compel obedience or punish offenders, as of a law. This new law against littering has teeth, so if you don't pick up your trash, you'll get a hefty fine. It's a good idea, but it simply doesn't have teeth—there's no way to enforce it.
If an organization or law has teeth, it has the necessary authority or power to make people obey it. Pro-democracy campaigners complain that the new assembly will have no teeth. This legislation has teeth, but judges are not imposing the tougher penalties.