have teeth

have 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.
See also: have, teeth
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
"Too much sugar is a huge problem in this country, where 48,000 children have teeth out under general anaesthetic in a year.
He said: "While some teeth need to be removed as they are growing in the wrong place or as a result of accidental damage, a big proportion of these children will have teeth extracted due to preventable decay.
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.
Still today many species have teeth with a large main cusp flanked by one or more cusplets.
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 ..aaaaaaargh!
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