pull teeth

(redirected from pulled his teeth)

pull teeth

1. To do something that is especially difficult, tedious, or requires an extreme amount of effort; to do something in the most difficult or unpleasant way possible. With this new way of preparing vegetables, you'll no longer have to pull teeth to get your kids to eat their greens! I've been pulling teeth trying to get my family members organized for this get together, but I think it will all be worth it!
2. To make someone or something less powerful, potent, or effective. A noun or pronoun is used between "pull" and "teeth." The watchdog did a great job keeping predatory loan sharks in check, but the new policy really pulled the agency's teeth. Corporate lobbyists are trying to pull the new law's teeth to give them greater leeway in the market.
See also: pull, teeth
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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References in classic literature ?
At last the rope gave way with such a sudden jerk that it nearly pulled his teeth out, and quite knocked him over backwards.
Thanks to Gemma's misguided killing of Tara, her son is now on the brink of madness as he carves a swastika into the man's stomach with the help of his prison allies, and then walks away after he pulled his teeth out.
THE man accused of raping a string of elderly women in their homes has pulled his teeth out in prison.