Talking Teeth

We don’t often think about our teeth unless they are causing us pain. We tend to take them for granted. Although having said that, there are a surprising number of sayings and phrases that include teeth. They must be on our mind quite a lot then! Here are just a few:

A tooth for a tooth

This is an ancient saying, originating in the Old Testament. As well as an eye for an eye, it was a command for justice and revenge to match a wrongdoing experienced. This form of compensatory justice is, however, in direct contradiction to the New Testament’s ‘turn the other cheek’ advice. Although often misinterpreted, it also means that punishment should be fair and proportional to the crime committed.

Image credit

Long in the tooth

This saying actually refers to horses and not people. It was believed that you could judge the age of a horse by whether a groove had appeared in its teeth (which normally appears when the horse is ten years old). The groove travels down the tooth, growing out until the horse reaches old age and it disappears. It’s not a particularly accurate way of telling a horse’s age though.

As rare as hen’s teeth

You don’t need to be a genius to work out that hens don’t have teeth, so finding any would be pretty rare indeed! Makes sure you look after your pearly whites with a visit to a Cosmetic dentist Cardiff at

By the skin of your teeth

Another biblical saying, it means to barely escape with your life. It is used more loosely nowadays, meaning avoiding pretty much anything or achieving something by a very minute margin. The skin is generally believed to refer to the enamel on your teeth.

To bite off more than you can chew

This can refer to food but generally refers to anything that a person has taken on that they then struggle with, be it a DIY job or a project at work.

Bare your teeth

When humans flash their teeth, it is normally a friendly sign and results in a smile or laughter. However, this saying has a threatening tone to it because in the animal kingdom when an animal bares their teeth, it’s normally a bad sign that signals impending aggression and a bite coming your way!

Image credit

Give your eyeteeth

If you’ve ever heard this expression, you might be wondering what on earth ‘eyeteeth’ are? This is an old-fashioned name for your canines which were once thought to be connected by nerves to your eyes. The canines play a vital role in cutting and tearing food into manageable pieces for your molars to crush. Losing or giving away your canines, therefore would leave your bite weak, affect your appearance and was thought to be bad for your eyes. Anything that would make you willing to give these up would have to be extra special indeed!



Russell Wilson

Hi, I am Russell Wilson; I am an entrepreneur, father, mentor, and adventurer passionate about life. At this moment, I am working with depression and anxiety.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button