give teeth to

give teeth to (something)

To make something stronger or more effective, especially a rule or piece of legislation. Senators are hoping to give teeth to the healthcare bill by attaching the threat of huge fines to insurance companies that don't comply. You'll never give teeth to the regulations if officers are not allowed to make arrests.
See also: give, teeth, to
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

give teeth to something

 and put teeth in(to) something
Fig. to make something powerful; to give something a real effect. The severe penalty really gives teeth to the law. Strong enforcement puts teeth in the regulation.
See also: give, teeth, to
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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References in periodicals archive ?
This is not only to give teeth to the campaign against the NPA but also to stop communist recruitment among the youth.
15 of 2007 established the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking, NCCHT, to give teeth to Federal Law No.
He also accused the APC government of destroying the nation's democratic institutions, saying: 'Rather than give teeth to governance and address biting national issues of concern like the insecurity, this government exerts all its energies and resources planning nefariously how to undermine democratic institutions.
Collectively, the proposed legislation, which has the backing of the council's Democratic majority, would force rent-regulated building owners to be more transparent, broaden government oversight and give teeth to enforcement measures taken against bad actors, all in the name of protecting tenants.
'We will not use martial law if we have something that could give teeth to the security agencies,' he said.
"This bill, once enacted into law, would finally give teeth to our 41-year Labor Code and would thus force establishments to comply with occupational safety and health standards," Villanueva said.
To give teeth to media protection laws, the government will have to stop officials from harassing independent journalists, many of whom have come to be recognised as the eyes and ears of the nation.
It is we who have to pressure our government to improve poor governance and give teeth to the laws related to child abuse and other crimes.
'We are determined to give teeth to our city ordinances and ensure their effective enforcement.
Over the past year, an independent, United States-based task force sponsored by the J Paul Getty Trust with support from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences has been exploring ways to give teeth to these commitments.
As we approach this year's Birmingham Heritage Week, it is timely for the council and the people of Birmingham to have a say in a review of how we manage conservation areas and give teeth to the local listing policy.
From among the present BJP legion, the man best suited to keep the Hindutva flag flying is none other than the Yogi who established his credentials by announcing as soon as he took over as the chief minister that his top-most priority is to give teeth to the 'good' vigilantes who protect the cow, beat the 'Romeos', and so on.
Brown said she hopes to pass "meaningful legislation" to give teeth to the Oregon Government Ethics Commission and to ensure the "timely release" of records under Oregon's Public Records Law.
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