Definition of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth in English:

an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth

phrase

  • Used to refer to the belief that retaliation in kind is the appropriate way to deal with an offence or crime:

    ‘other people took his wife, he took the wives of others—it was an eye for an eye’
    • ‘Revenge should never play a part in a modern justice system, I am hoping that we as a race are beyond that by now, that we have grown up a little since the Bible days of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’
    • ‘But before we get carried away with such ideas, it is worth remembering that, in the Bible, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth was really not about retribution; it was about restoration.’
    • ‘His laws were very cruel and were based on the principle of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’
    • ‘‘‘If we practice an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, soon the whole world will be blind and toothless.’’