red in tooth and claw
red in tooth and clawLITERARY
If you describe a person, organization or activity as red in tooth and claw, you mean that they involve very competitive and sometimes cruel behaviour. My wife and I both now work for companies that are red in tooth and claw. He wanted to demonstrate that Labour is no longer red in tooth and claw, but a serious political party. Note: People talk about `nature red in tooth and claw' to describe the cruel way that wild creatures hunt and kill each other for food. This is a quotation from the poem `In Memoriam' (1850) by the English poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson. (Part 56, stanza 4)
red in tooth and clawinvolving savage or merciless conflict or competition.
This phrase originated as a quotation from Tennyson's ‘In Memoriam’ ( 1850 ): ‘Nature, red in tooth and claw’.
1998 Spectator Life is sharper on the shop floor, too; and for small business it is red in tooth and claw.