give one's eyeteeth(redirected from give one's right arm)
give (one's) eyeteeth
To go to any length or relinquish anything of value in order to have or be able to do something. Almost always used after the modal verb "would." Oh, I would give my eyeteeth to be able to write like you! You mother has always said she would give her eyeteeth for your beautiful curly hair.
give (one's) eyeteeth for (something)
To go to any length or relinquish anything of value in order to obtain some specific thing in return. Almost always used after the modal verb "would." Oh, I would give my eyeteeth for curly hair like yours. She said she'd give her eyeteeth for a chance to meet the singer in person.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.