have teeth

have teeth

To have enough power to make people listen and obey it, 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.
See also: have, teeth

have teeth

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.
See also: have, teeth

have ˈteeth

(British English, informal) (of an organization, a law, etc.) be powerful and effective: It appears that the new legislation doesn’t have any teeth, since there has been no improvement in working conditions.
See also: have, teeth
References in periodicals archive ?
WE SAY DENTAL expert Dr Nigel Carter is right to blame parents for the shocking rise in the number of local children who need to have teeth taken out.
As he made several warning feints toward my hand, I remember thinking in one smooth sentence: ``Hmmm, I wonder if gopher snakes have teeth - oh, yes, gopher snakes do indeed have teeth.
I always took the children for regular check ups - like every good mum should, yet secretly thought, why traipse along to the dentist every six months to have teeth poked with a sharp thing making holes that then have to be drilled, filled and .