put teeth in(to) (something)

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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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References in periodicals archive ?
But at the end of the day, it is still better to have one and putting teeth into it than not having one at all.
We've gotten very aggressive by putting teeth into our MAP (Minimum Advertising Pricing) policy.
But there is little prospect of Western states putting teeth into the sanctions on Assad by targeting Syria's oil because of vested commercial interests against doing so.
The paper points out that Wednesday's news of Gazprom signing a memorandum of mutual understanding with Romania's company Transgas are a clear sign that Russia could decide to go for picking Romania as a transit route over Bulgaria, whose new government has balked at putting teeth into three large-scale Russian-sponsored energy projects over the past year, including South Stream.
Senior executives are putting teeth into supply-chain policies, are controlling the budgetary framework under which logistics programs operate and are using senior management prerogatives to support or subvert any supply-chain initiatives.
"Putting teeth into the Good Faith Estimate [GFE]" is one measure Johnson advocates.
The bill enables policyholders to sue carriers who act in bad faith, "putting teeth into the existing requirement that insurers deal fairly with their insured when a disaster strikes by making it clear they will pay a financial price if they do not." The legislation holds that, in the event of a "catastrophic event" that causes in excess of $1 billion of damages, insurers can be held liable for both interest and attorney fees if they act in bad faith.
invasion of Iraq was intended to strengthen the UN by putting teeth into the world body's disarmament decrees: "The dictator in Iraq pursued weapons of mass murder, cultivated ties to terror and defied the demands of the United Nations--so his regime has been ended."
30, she said, 'Hopefully, with the very clear backing of the president, we will be putting teeth into this."