noun, plural teeth.
- (in most vertebrates) one of the hard bodies or processes usually attached in a row to each jaw, serving for the prehension and mastication of food, as weapons of attack or defense, etc., and in mammals typically composed chiefly of dentin surrounding a sensitive pulp and covered on the crown with enamel.
- (in invertebrates) any of various similar or analogous processes occurring in the mouth or alimentary canal, or on a shell.
- any projection resembling or suggesting a tooth.
- one of the projections of a comb, rake, saw, etc.
- any of the uniform projections on a gear or rack by which it drives, or is driven by, a gear, rack, or worm.
- any of the uniform projections on a sprocket by which it drives or is driven by a chain.
- any small, toothlike marginal lobe.
- one of the toothlike divisions of the peristome of mosses.
- a sharp, distressing, or destructive attribute or agency.
- taste, relish, or liking.
- a surface, as on a grinding wheel or sharpening stone, slightly roughened so as to increase friction with another part.
- a rough surface created on a paper made for charcoal drawing, watercolor, or the like, or on canvas for oil painting.
verb (used with object), toothed [tootht, toothd] /tuθt, tuðd/, tooth·ing [too-thing, -thing] /ˈtu θɪŋ, -ðɪŋ/.
- to furnish with teeth.
- to cut teeth upon.
verb (used without object), toothed [tootht, toothd] /tuθt, tuðd/, tooth·ing [too-thing, -thing] /ˈtu θɪŋ, -ðɪŋ/.
- to interlock, as cogwheels.
- by the skin of one’s teeth, barely: He got away by the skin of his teeth.
- cast/throw in someone’s teeth, to reproach someone for (an action): History will ever throw this blunder in his teeth.
- cut one’s teeth on, to do at the beginning of one’s education, career, etc., or in one’s youth: The hunter boasted of having cut his teeth on tigers.
- in the teeth of,
- so as to face or confront; straight into or against: in the teeth of the wind.
- in defiance of; in opposition to: She maintained her stand in the teeth of public opinion.
- long in the tooth, old; elderly.
- put teeth in/into, to establish or increase the effectiveness of: to put teeth into the law.
- set one’s teeth, to become resolute; prepare for difficulty: He set his teeth and separated the combatants.
- set/put one’s teeth on edge,
- to induce an unpleasant sensation.
- to repel; irritate: The noise of the machines sets my teeth on edge.
- show one’s teeth, to become hostile or threatening; exhibit anger: Usually friendly, she suddenly began to show her teeth.
- to the teeth, entirely; fully: armed to the teeth; dressed to the teeth in furs.
noun plural teeth (tiːθ)
- any of various bonelike structures set in the jaws of most vertebrates and modified, according to the species, for biting, tearing, or chewingRelated adjective: dental
- any of various similar structures in invertebrates, occurring in the mouth or alimentary canal
- anything resembling a tooth in shape, prominence, or functionthe tooth of a comb
- any of the various small indentations occurring on the margin of a leaf, petal, etc
- any one of a number of uniform projections on a gear, sprocket, rack, etc, by which drive is transmitted
- taste or appetite (esp in the phrase sweet tooth)
- long in the tooth old or ageing: used originally of horses, because their gums recede with age
- tooth and nail with ferocity and forcewe fought tooth and nail
verb (tuːð, tuːθ)
- (tr) to provide with a tooth or teeth
- (intr) (of two gearwheels) to engage
Old English toð (plural teð), from Proto-Germanic *tanth, *tunth (cf. Old Saxon, Danish, Swedish, Dutch tand, Old Norse tönn, Old Frisian toth, Old High German zand, German Zahn, Gothic tunþus), from PIE *dont-/*dent- “tooth” (cf. Sanskrit danta, Greek odontos, Latin dens, Lithuanian dantis, Old Irish det, Welsh dent). Plural form teeth is an instance of. Application to tooth-like parts of other objects (saws, combs, etc.) first recorded 1520s.
n. pl. teeth (tēth)
- One of a set of hard, bonelike structures rooted in sockets in the jaws of vertebrates, typically composed of a core of soft pulp surrounded by a layer of hard dentin that is coated with cement or enamel at the crown and used chiefly for biting or chewing food or as a means of attack or defense.
Plural teeth (tēth)
- Any of the hard bony structures in the mouth used to grasp and chew food and as weapons of attack and defense. In mammals and many other vertebrates, the teeth are set in sockets in the jaw. In fish and amphibians, they grow in and around the palate. See also dentition.
- A similar structure in certain invertebrate animals.
A hard structure, embedded in the jaws of the mouth, that functions in chewing. The tooth consists of a crown, covered with hard white enamel; a root, which anchors the tooth to the jawbone; and a “neck” between the crown and the root, covered by the gum. Most of the tooth is made up of dentin, which is located directly below the enamel. The soft interior of the tooth, the pulp, contains nerves and blood vessels. Humans have molars for grinding food, incisors for cutting, and canines and bicuspids for tearing.
Straight into, confronting, as in The ship was headed in the teeth of the gale. [Late 1200s]
In opposition to or defiance of, as in She stuck to her position in the teeth of criticism by the board members. [Late 1700s] Also see fly in the face of.
Facing danger or threats, as in The tribe was in the teeth of starvation. [Early 1800s]
In addition to the idiom beginning with tooth
- tooth fairy
- fight tooth and nail
- fine-tooth comb
- long in the tooth
- sweet tooth
Also see underteeth.