One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
nounalso incisor tooth
A narrow-edged tooth at the front of the mouth, adapted for cutting. In humans there are four incisors in each jaw.
- ‘Generally, the front, incisor and canine teeth have one canal, premolars have two canals and the back molar teeth have three.’
- ‘The molars' purpose is to grind food, and the incisors and canine teeth are used to bite into and tear food.’
- ‘The teeth most often missing are the third molars, second premolars, and maxillary lateral incisors, and other teeth may be reduced in size.’
- ‘It is usually the incisors (front teeth) but the molars can also become deformed.’
- ‘In contrast to man, apes tend to have large incisor and canine teeth which are relatively larger than their molars.’
- ‘Firmly embedded in his forehead were two human incisors - mementos left by his would be robber.’
- ‘The upper lateral incisors may be duplicated and the development of four molars or two supernumerary premolars may also occur.’
- ‘Our teeth include incisors and canines designed for tearing flesh.’
- ‘All animals in this order lack incisor and canine teeth, but they may have numerous simple molars in the backs of their jaws.’
- ‘Two more chimpanzee teeth were later found at the site, an upper incisor and a tooth tentatively identified as a molar.’
- ‘The lower jawbone of the hippopotamus reveals six incisor teeth, whereas the hippopotamus that survives in Africa has only four incisors.’
- ‘During the struggle it is believed the woman may have knocked out the man's lower front incisor - such a tooth was found at the scene and is being examined by forensic experts.’
- ‘The first measurements they took were the length of the hard palate, from the first premolar to the last incisor.’
- ‘During the teenage years, boys and girls get each of their top four incisor teeth filed to a point.’
- ‘He opened his mouth to show a gap in the front of his mouth where an incisor should have been.’
- ‘Not too surprisingly, it had broad upper incisors and chisel-shaped lower incisors.’
- ‘Billy has been left with only eight back teeth and his two front incisors, which dentists say are so badly decayed they will fall out in months.’
- ‘About a quarter of the tusk - a greatly elongated upper incisor tooth - resides in the animal's head.’
- ‘Those are the things that the front teeth, the incisors act on in order to regulate the bite size that goes into the mouth.’
- ‘Moles have small, sharp incisors and canine teeth that are used for catching and eating grubs and earthworms.’
Late 17th century: from medieval Latin, literally ‘cutter’, from Latin incis- (see incise).
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