put teeth in(to) (something)

put teeth in(to) (something)

1. To make something stronger or more effective, especially a rule or piece of legislation. Senators are hoping to put teeth into the healthcare bill by attaching the threat of huge fines to insurance companies that don't comply. You'll never put teeth in the regulations if officers are not allowed to make arrests.
2. To engage with or start work on something with great interest, enthusiasm, or intensity. In this usage, a possessive pronoun is used between "put" and "teeth." I was starting to feel really restless with all the busywork I was being assigned. I needed something substantial that I could really put my teeth into. The book was a bit too dry for me to put my teeth in it completely, but it still contained a lot of interesting information.
See also: put, teeth
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

put some teeth into something

Fig. to increase the power or efficacy of something. The mayor tried to put some teeth into the new law. The delivery clause in the contract is too weak. Put some teeth into it.
See also: put, teeth
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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