Definition of tooth in English:



  • 1Each of a set of hard, bony enamel-coated structures in the jaws of most vertebrates, used for biting and chewing.

    • ‘In nonmammalian vertebrates, tooth replacement is intimately related to growth.’
    • ‘It is easy for tiny amounts of food to get trapped in the tiny dents or fissures, and if you do not brush them thoroughly, bacteria can build up and start to decay the tooth.’
    • ‘He sucked in his breath through his teeth, biting down hard to try and suppress the throbbing left behind by a revolver's bullet's passage.’
    • ‘Dental caries occur when bacteria destroy the enamel surface of the tooth and cause decay.’
    • ‘If the teeth are not cleaned properly they may be vulnerable to tooth decay causing cavities, or to gum disease.’
    • ‘There also will be worse staining of the teeth and some risk of tooth loss from caries because of the sugar in chewing tobacco.’
    • ‘The sugar in milk and juices will eat at your child's teeth and may cause decay.’
    • ‘Fluoride helps make teeth strong and prevents tooth decay.’
    • ‘Close association of shark teeth with a vertebrate skeleton is yet another type of fossil record that may indicate shark feeding.’
    • ‘The pain is aggravated by eating, gum chewing, teeth clenching, or yawning.’
    • ‘Titan triggerfish are armed with powerful jaws and teeth suitable for chewing bony corals divers should steer clear of them!’
    • ‘Dental caries or sugar-bacterial tooth decay is largely preventable.’
    • ‘Wisdom teeth are the last teeth at each end of the upper and lower gums, at the very back of the mouth.’
    • ‘The core structure of the tooth is composed of dentine.’
    • ‘Maxillary or posterior dentary teeth more recurved, denticles present on the anterior carinae.’
    • ‘Red, swollen areas in a child's mouth or dark spots on the teeth are signs of tooth decay.’
    • ‘Some malocclusions cannot be treated successfully without removing permanent teeth, though tooth removal is contraindicated in other situations.’
    • ‘You may lose both the wisdom tooth and the tooth next to it because of extensive decay.’
    • ‘These can expose your baby's teeth to harmful acids, which can attack the newly formed teeth and cause decay.’
    • ‘The teeth are natural with occlusal amalgam fillings in teeth 30 and 31.’
    fang, denticulation
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    1. 1.1A hard, pointed structure in invertebrate animals, typically functioning in the mechanical breakdown of food.
    2. 1.2Genuine force or effectiveness of a body or in a law or agreement.
      ‘the Charter would be fine if it had teeth and could be enforced’
      • ‘I think Bingley needs a central organisation, with some teeth.’
      • ‘In fairness the industry and the Scottish executive now recognise there are problems, but tough regulatory controls with real teeth and sanctions are needed.’
      • ‘This is not like treaty claims, because the Maori Land Court will have teeth and power in a way that the Waitangi Tribunal does not.’
      • ‘And the regulatory body that existed before he came to power, has no teeth and can't stop him.’
      • ‘The act gave teeth to a series of treaties designed to protect migratory birds, including the swan family, from extinction.’
      • ‘If we want the UN to rule, we have to give the UN teeth: as you say, military power.’
      • ‘Many of the rules seem to lack teeth when it comes to punishing erring hospitals that continue to dump their waste with impunity.’
      • ‘Corporations are attracted to the WTO to get business-friendly trade rules because it has teeth.’
      • ‘It goes a little way to doing that, by giving the regulators some power and some teeth.’
      • ‘What teeth do police authorities have when they cannot challenge on operational matters?’
  • 2A projecting part on a tool or other instrument, especially one of a series that function or engage together, such as a cog on a gearwheel or a point on a saw or comb.

    • ‘A toothed rack rail is laid in the middle of the track on the slopes and the pinions attached to the engine engage with the teeth of the rack bars and enable the engine to pull itself and its load up.’
    • ‘Desargues proposed cycloidal teeth for gear wheels in the 1630's.’
    prong, point, tine, cog, ratchet, sprocket
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    1. 2.1A projecting part on an animal or plant, especially one of a jagged or dentate row on the margin of a leaf or shell.
      • ‘Only a few shells measured had teeth or conspicuous apertural thickening, and these features were not measured in this study.’
      • ‘There are close-ups of leaf teeth and scales, for examples, and composite photos of Quercus and Carya fruits.’
      • ‘The margin of the aloe leaf is usually lifted with teeth having a sharp terminal spine on the end of each leaf.’
      • ‘Or a garden that had plants with teeth, rather than pretty petals.’
      • ‘The fleshy stems are angled with soft teeth, and no leaves.’
      • ‘The cone shell has modified teeth, like small poison-loaded harpoons, which it shoots out if disturbed.’
      • ‘The angiosperms range from small leaves with chloranthoid teeth to larger leaves of the Ficophyllum type.’
  • 3An appetite or liking for a particular thing.

    ‘what a tooth for fruit a monkey has!’
  • 4Roughness given to a surface to allow color or glue to adhere.

    • ‘Slick surfaces often needed to be sanded to give them tooth so paint and other materials will adhere better.’


  • armed to the teeth

    • Formidably armed.

    • see armed
      • ‘Twenty-two men exited the aircraft, all clothed in dark fatigues and all armed to the teeth.’
      • ‘The Bedford, a NATO battleship armed to the teeth, is on patrol in the North Atlantic when it receives two guests via helicopter.’
      • ‘Two warriors, armed to the teeth, stand alert, ready to defend the demolition team in case of a raid by bandits.’
  • fight tooth and nail

    • Fight fiercely.

      • ‘He did not know me from Adam, but he fought tooth and nail as if I was his property.’
      • ‘She said: ‘We have fought tooth and nail for a new pool.’’
      • ‘The most hoggish CEOs of the year, though, are America's media moguls, who fought tooth and nail against a pay raise that was being sought by the people who write the scripts for their movies and TV shows.’
      • ‘And it must be remembered that each step from rhetoric to reality was fought tooth and nail by those who preferred the status quo, and often fought with eerily similar rhetoric.’
      • ‘When the oil industry appeared they fought it tooth and nail.’
      • ‘Pinned almost on their own line, Naas were unable to regain possession for almost nine agonising minutes of additional time as an heroic defence fought tooth and nail to keep the opposition out’
      • ‘The Today programme is an agenda setting news programme, that I've fought tooth and nail and to be able to listen to in the ‘Ladies Gym’ - as they insist on calling it - in my gym.’
      • ‘Spain and Poland had fought tooth and nail over their voting status in the European Council as agreed in Nice in 2000, which gave them each almost the same number of votes as much more populous countries like Britain, France and Germany.’
      • ‘‘Every piece offered… they fought tooth and nail to keep it in,’ said one official involved in putting together the speech.’
      • ‘He has fought tooth and nail to ensure the Parliament is more democratic, has more powers and is more relevant to people out there’.’
      • ‘Both these teams were unbeaten going into this Division Two top of the table clash and it was easy to see why as both fought tooth and nail to maintain their respective 100 per cent records.’
      • ‘But the Ulster Champions were in no mood for waving white flags instead they got bodies behind the ball, pushed themselves that extra inch and fought tooth and nail not to concede.’
      • ‘Since the industry has fought tooth and nail against mandatory COOL legislation, there is no way for them to know which chicken came from which kill plant.’
      • ‘The Algerian and Egyptian governments have fought tooth and nail for years to prevent the installation of Islamic law as the only form of law in their countries.’
      • ‘They kept plugging away, fought tooth and nail for every ball, got stuck in when it mattered, kept the heads up, the only problem was their level of finesse simply eluded them on the day.’
      • ‘‘We received our five star tidy town rating two years ago and fought tooth and nail to maintain it,’ he said.’
      • ‘The airlines fought tooth and nail against passenger-bag matching because it would slow down the check-in process.’
      • ‘The people who fought tooth and nail to keep VCRs off the market will have a veto over all new digital television devices, including digital television devices that interface with personal computers.’
      • ‘Everyone fought tooth and nail to keep the families here and we thought they had a chance.’
      • ‘The CIA battles tooth and nail over material from fifty years ago.’
  • get (or sink) one's teeth into

    • Work energetically and productively on (a task)

      ‘the course gives students something to get their teeth into’
      • ‘Serves me right for picking an easy read and not getting my teeth into something substantial.’
      • ‘If you love the minimalist adventurism of Kompakt but need just a little more sensitive pop structure to sink your teeth into, then this comp's for you.’
      • ‘But set it during the October Crisis and that's something people can sink their teeth into.’
      • ‘And literary fiction has to have something that the present or prospective PhD students can get their teeth into.’
      • ‘This story has been a little dicier for reporters to sink their teeth into because frankly you don't know quite what you're getting into.’
      • ‘Now there's a sociological exercise I could sink my teeth into.’
      • ‘My fingers drum on the desk as I pour over CNN and Newsday looking for stories to sink my teeth into.’
      • ‘For those who like a good laugh, there's a lot to sink your teeth into.’
      • ‘What does enter my mind is when I see a particularly difficult challenge the country's facing and I see something that I disagree with, I think, Gosh, I wish I could sink my teeth into that.’
      • ‘And it really is playing against type, which my guess is, for you, really a role you could sink your teeth into.’
      • ‘He has only had supporting roles to date, but for this production was chief baddie, the Sheriff of Nottingham, and it was one he really got his teeth into.’
      • ‘But do take a look, there is certainly something for you to sink your teeth into.’
      • ‘This is the kind of contest I can really sink my teeth into.’
      • ‘So if you desire a yummy book to sink your teeth into but can't commit to a Tolstoy, here is a list of five children's novels I have recently read and greatly enjoyed.’
      • ‘Old fans won't be disappointed but more importantly, new fans will find something worthwhile to sink their teeth into.’
      • ‘Occasionally along comes an example of populism run amok the critics can sink their teeth into.’
      • ‘It's meaty material and I think any actor loves to do stuff you can sink your teeth into.’
      • ‘Here are four ready-made trips to sink your teeth into.’
      • ‘To widen the choice for the guests and ensure that there are more than just juicy fish chunks for guests to sink their teeth into, buffet lunch and dinner are also being served during the festival days.’
      • ‘With over 30 clubs and societies to choose from, there is plenty on offer in Sligo IT for students to get their teeth into.’
  • in the teeth of

    • 1Directly against (the wind)

      • ‘We were fishing right in the teeth of a big wind on Chateau Lake.’
      • ‘Yesterday was a very long day in the teeth of a cold wind and the occasional shower.’
      • ‘Pam's life was full and happy; she took pleasure in natural history and the creation of a garden in the teeth of regular exposure to south westerly winds.’
      • ‘It's cold outside, and I won't be climbing those valleys today, in the teeth of that wind which always seems to be funnelling down from the colder heights.’
      • ‘Some loon, an observer would say, mumbling to himself, clothing torn, hair matted with blood, the cut over his right eye probably still bleeding, staggering towards another impossible hill in the teeth of an impossible wind.’
      • ‘My brothers and sister and I would run out of the waves, blue with cold, get dressed in the teeth of whatever wind was blowing that day and retreat somewhere ‘out of the wind’ for a picnic lunch.’
      1. 1.1In spite of or contrary to (opposition or difficulty)
        ‘we defended it in the teeth of persecution’
        • ‘The project began last Friday in the teeth of furious Polish opposition; the Poles regard it as a snub and stand to lose out financially because they will not be able to levy tariffs on the pipeline.’
        • ‘The reform of local and central government was carried through in the teeth of opposition from the Milanese patricians, who lost their commanding position in the state's administration.’
        • ‘Bradford Council awarded Brighton-based UZ a three-year contract to run the annual festival in the teeth of opposition from local organisers who founded the event and ran it on a not-for-profit basis for many years.’
        • ‘Those committed to technological progress, therefore, are attempting to make their societies more just, more efficient and more productive in the teeth of religious opposition.’
        • ‘The approval, although recommended by the planning officers' report, came in the teeth of opposition from district councillors, parish councillors, residents and community groups.’
        • ‘One of the things about the Scots coming to Ulster in 1609 / 1610, was that they received grants of Plantation lands in the teeth of opposition of many English servitors in Ireland.’
        • ‘Over 300,000 miners went out on strike to defend their living standards in the teeth of opposition from their union leaders.’
        • ‘Last year, the producers had agitated against this and had it removed in the teeth of opposition from exhibitors.’
        • ‘For the first time in two generations there is the chance for a party that embodies those hopes to win parliamentary seats in England and Wales in the teeth of opposition by Labour Party leaders.’
        • ‘But it is hard to imagine him miscalculating that it could be done in the teeth of active opposition from the other political parties, the electorate, and a somewhat sullen defence force.’
        • ‘In virtually all cases this was pushed through from below, in the teeth of determined opposition from the national leaderships, particularly UNISON and the FBU.’
        • ‘Tomorrow our minimum wage, the one we introduced in the teeth of Tory opposition is going up again - to £4.50.’
        • ‘The Kirk is likely to approve limited embryo research in the teeth of determined opposition from traditionalists at this year's General Assembly.’
        • ‘Those who marched, therefore, did so out of a profound sense of conviction that this was an unjust war and a crime against humanity and in the teeth of almost universal opposition from the political establishment.’
        • ‘And secondly, I cannot imagine that it can be anything except deeply detrimental to do this in the teeth of Federation opposition, as opposed to through as much consultation and examination of the issues as possible.’
        • ‘… The Prime Minister has been right, and brave, to introduce market pressures into higher education by pushing through university top-up fees in the teeth of opposition from his egalitarian Chancellor.’
        • ‘We brought in the National Curriculum, testing, independent inspections and greater choice, all in the teeth of outright opposition from Labour.’
        • ‘The sad outcome is that the operators could afford to fly in the teeth of all oppositions and put the system into use as scheduled.’
        • ‘Plans to create a school at Wellesley Park in the teeth of fierce opposition led to huge protests.’
        • ‘This has happened in the teeth of some very vocal opposition, mine included.’
  • set someone's teeth on edge

    • (especially of an unpleasantly harsh sound) cause someone to feel intense discomfort or irritation.

      ‘a grating that set her teeth on edge’
      • ‘I hate beginning Monday mornings with the kind of irritation that sets my teeth on edge and makes me want to shout at the person concerned.’
      • ‘I have been thinking about this all day long, ever since someone made a stray remark about this investigation that just set my teeth on edge.’
      • ‘Every sound that filtered through the snow-laden branches set his teeth on edge.’
      • ‘This assumed connection between the sleeping and feeding habits of infants, and the parents' willingness to apply the appropriate degree of discipline, always sets my teeth on edge.’
      • ‘Unless, of course, the sound of kids enjoying themselves sets your teeth on edge.’
      • ‘From the moment they start playing carols in the shops in October to the appearance of the first Easter Eggs in the shops on New Years Eve, the rampant hypocrisy of the Christmas spirit sets your teeth on edge.’
      • ‘But something about the way these magazines photograph women sets my teeth on edge.’
      • ‘A similar thing happens to many humans - as soon as you detect the excruciating high-pitched whine of a dentist's drill, it sets your teeth on edge.’
      • ‘Some owls screech and scream their heads off, setting your teeth on edge and jangling your nerves.’
      • ‘Even after all these years, loud eating is the one trait which still sets my teeth on edge.’
      irritate, set someone's teeth on edge, jar
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Old English tōth (plural tēth), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch tand and German Zahn, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin dent-, Greek odont-.