tooth(redirected from tooths)
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Related to tooths: cut teeth, gnashed, toothlessness, sweet tooths
an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth
Compensation or retribution that is (or should be) of an equal amount or degree to the injury or offense that was originally dealt. The saying comes from various passages in the Old Testament, including in Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy. I cannot be placated by paltry excuses of reparation! An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth; this I demand from all who have wronged me.
rarer than hens' teeth
Incredibly scarce or rare; extremely difficult or impossible to find. Support for the president is rarer than hens' teeth in this part of the country.
See also: teeth
scarcer than hens' teeth
Incredibly scarce or rare; extremely difficult or impossible to find. Support for the president is scarcer than hens' teeth in this part of the country.
(as) rare as hens' teeth
Incredibly scarce or rare; extremely difficult or impossible to find. Support for the president is as rare as hens' teeth in this part of the country.
tooth and nail
Furiously or fiercely; with all of one's strength and effort. I know my brother has fought tooth and nail to be re-elected, so his victory tonight is certainly well earned. The elite troops have been placed around the perimeter to defend the palace tooth and nail from rioters.
go at each other tooth and nail
To fight, battle, or compete against each other with great ferocity, vigor, and intensity. The incumbent president and his opponent went at each other tooth and nail in the televised debate last night. The rioters and police have been going at each other tooth and nail all night long.
go through (something) with a fine-tooth comb
To scrutinize something; to look at something very carefully. We need to go through these files with a fine-tooth comb to find that missing paperwork. Make sure to go through your thesis with a fine-tooth comb before you hand it in—you don't want your advisors wading through proofreading errors, do you?
Something very scarce (because hens have no teeth). Typically used in phrases like "as scarce as a hen's tooth." I can hardly believe your brother got an A on his final exam—grades like that are as scarce as a hen's tooth for him!
See also: tooth
love-tooth in the head
A constant need or yearning for love. A: "Stacey always seems to have a boyfriend." B: "I know, she really has a love-tooth in the head!"
See also: head
take the bear by the tooth
To subject oneself to danger or trouble. I really took the bear by the tooth by sneaking out of the house late at night. I think you're taking the bear by the tooth to drive in such torrential rain.
be long in the tooth
To be old. Animals' teeth, especially those of horses, are thought to be an indicator of age. As animals age, their gums recede, and their teeth look longer. Our poor cat is so long in the tooth that he struggles just walking around the house these days. She's a little long in the tooth to still be working—do you think she'll ever retire?
A propensity and preference for eating sugary foods. If you're looking for a snack, go talk to Jenny—she has a real sweet tooth, so she probably keeps candy bars in her desk. Because I don't have much of a sweet tooth, I get more excited about entrees than desserts.
*clean as a hound's toothand *clean as a whistle
1. Rur. Cliché very clean. (*Also: as ~.) After his mother scrubbed him thoroughly, the baby was as clean as a hound's tooth. The car was as clean as a whistle after the Girl Scouts washed it.
2. Rur. Cliché innocent and free from sin or wrong. (*Also: as ~.) Jane's record was clean as a whistle; she had never committed even the smallest infraction.
fight someone or something hammer and tongsand fight someone or something tooth and nail; go at it hammer and tongs; go at it tooth and nail
Fig. to fight against someone or something energetically and with great determination. They fought against the robber tooth and nail. The dogs were fighting each other hammer and tongs.
go at one another tooth and nail
Fig. to fight one another like animals. (One another can also be each other.) The man and his wife went at one another tooth and nail. The children would go at one another tooth and nail almost every evening.
go over something with a fine-tooth comband search something with a fine-tooth comb; go through something with a fine-tooth comb
Fig. to search through something very carefully. I can't find my calculus book. I went over the whole place with a fine-tooth comb. I searched this place with a fine-tooth comb and didn't find my ring.
have a sweet tooth
Fig. to desire to eat many sweet foods-especially candy and pastries. I have a sweet tooth, and if I don't watch it, I'll really get fat. John eats candy all the time. He must have a sweet tooth.
long in the tooth
Fig. old. That actor is getting a little long in the tooth to play the romantic lead. I may be long in the tooth, but I'm not stupid.
go over something with a fine-tooth combalso go through something with a fine-tooth comb
to examine every part of something very carefully My accountant is going over my tax return with a fine-tooth comb.
Usage notes: also used in the form fine-toothed comb
fight (somebody/something) tooth and nail
to use a lot of effort to oppose someone or achieve something We fought tooth and nail to keep our share of the business. They vowed to fight the new legislation tooth and nail.
long in the toothalso long of tooth
to be very old Don't you think she's a bit long in the tooth to be a romantic heroine?
Etymology: based on the idea that teeth grow longer in some animals as they get older
fight tooth and claw/nail
to fight very hard to achieve something (often + to do sth) We fought tooth and nail to retain our share of the business.
with a fine-tooth comb
if you examine something with a fine-tooth comb, you examine every part of it very carefully I'd advise you to examine your insurance policy with a fine-tooth comb to make sure you're covered if you take your car abroad.
be long in the tooth(humorous)
to be too old
Usage notes: The older a horse is, the longer its teeth are.I'd have thought she was a bit long in the tooth to be starring as the romantic heroine.
a sweet tooth
if you have a sweet tooth, you like eating food with sugar in it It's things like chocolate and cake that I can't resist - I've got a real sweet tooth.
fight tooth and nail
Engage in vigorous combat or make a strenuous effort, using all one's resources. For example, I'm going to fight tooth and nail for that promotion. This expression, with its allusion to biting and scratching, was first recorded in 1576.
A method of searching or investigating in minute detail, as in He examined the figures with a fine-tooth comb but found no errors. The practice of using a comb with close-set teeth to comb out head lice was transferred to various kinds of investigation in the late 1800s.
long in the tooth
Getting on in years, old, as in Aunt Aggie's a little long in the tooth to be helping us move. This expression alludes to a horse's gums receding with age and making the teeth appear longer. [Mid-1800s]
A love for sugary foods, as in You can always please Nell with cake or ice cream; she has a big sweet tooth. This expression dates from the late 1300s, although it then referred not only to sweets but other delicacies as well.
A mythical source of bounty, as in So who will finance this venture-the tooth fairy? This expression refers to the fairy credited with leaving money under a child's pillow in place of a baby tooth that has fallen out, a practice popular with American parents since the first half of the 1900s.
long in the tooth
clean as a hound's tooth
Completely blemish-free or honest. Another Southern expression; hounds' teeth are apparently cleaner than those of other species. Or perhaps just their canine teeth.
long in the tooth
Old. Absent conclusive documentation, a horse's age is determined by the size and condition of its teeth, which show specific signs of growth or deterioration over the years. For example, a groove in an upper incisor usually first appears when a horse is ten, moves halfway down the tooth in five years, reaches the end in another five, and then begins to disappear. There are far more flattering ways to refer to someone as being “long in the tooth”—to the extent that any reference to age is flattering—such as the French euphemism “a woman of a certain age.”