Definition of tooth in English:

tooth

Line breaks: tooth
Pronunciation: /tuːθ
 
/

noun (plural teeth /tiːθ/)

1Each of a set of hard, bony enamel-coated structures in the jaws of most vertebrates, used for biting and chewing: he clenched his teeth [as modifier]: tooth decay
More example sentences
  • The pain is aggravated by eating, gum chewing, teeth clenching, or yawning.
  • Dental caries occur when bacteria destroy the enamel surface of the tooth and cause decay.
  • Some malocclusions cannot be treated successfully without removing permanent teeth, though tooth removal is contraindicated in other situations.
Synonyms
Zoology denticle;
(teeth)dentition
informal gnasher
rare tush
1.1Each of a number of hard, pointed structures in or around the mouth of some invertebrates, functioning in the physical breakdown of food.
1.2 (teeth) Genuine power or effectiveness of an organization or in a law or agreement: the Charter would be fine if it had teeth and could be enforced
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • It goes a little way to doing that, by giving the regulators some power and some teeth.
1.3 (teeth) Used in curses or exclamations: Hell’s teeth!
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.
More example sentences
  • Desargues proposed cycloidal teeth for gear wheels in the 1630's.
  • 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.
Synonyms
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.
More example sentences
  • There are close-ups of leaf teeth and scales, for examples, and composite photos of Quercus and Carya fruits.
  • Or a garden that had plants with teeth, rather than pretty petals.
  • The fleshy stems are angled with soft teeth, and no leaves.
3 [in singular] An appetite or liking for a particular thing: what a tooth for fruit a monkey has!
4 [mass noun] Roughness given to a surface to allow colour or glue to adhere: the paper used in copying machines is good as it has tooth and takes ink well
More example sentences
  • Slick surfaces often needed to be sanded to give them tooth so paint and other materials will adhere better.

Origin

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-.

Phrases

fight tooth and nail

Fight very fiercely.
More example sentences
  • 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.’
  • ‘We received our five star tidy town rating two years ago and fought tooth and nail to maintain it,’ he said.

get (or sink) one's teeth into

Work energetically and productively on (a task): the course gives students something to get their teeth into
More example sentences
  • With over 30 clubs and societies to choose from, there is plenty on offer in Sligo IT for students to get their teeth into.
  • And literary fiction has to have something that the present or prospective PhD students can get their teeth into.
  • It's meaty material and I think any actor loves to do stuff you can sink your teeth into.

in the teeth of

Directly against (the wind): in the teeth of the gale we set off for the farm
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • Yesterday was a very long day in the teeth of a cold wind and the occasional shower.
  • 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.
In spite of (opposition or difficulty): the firm has expanded its building contracting division in the teeth of recession
More example sentences
  • Over 300,000 miners went out on strike to defend their living standards in the teeth of opposition from their union leaders.
  • 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 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.

set someone's teeth on edge

see edge.

Derivatives

toothed

adjective
More example sentences
  • It's a documentary type thing speculating how ancient man coped with - and generally killed off - whopping great spiky toothed animals back in the dawn of time.
  • They are an aromatic, light yellow-green, with serrated, toothed edges.
  • The leaves are oval with pointed tips, toothed at the edges and rough on the upper surface.

tooth-like

adjective
More example sentences
  • Four miles to the north-east is the island of Boreray and its atmospheric outliers: the whitewashed tooth-like 564 ft Stac Lee and its more northern neighbour, Stac an Armin.
  • Ordovician strata are characterized by numerous and diverse trilobites and conodonts (phosphatic fossils with a tooth-like appearance) found in sequences of shale, limestone, dolostone, and sandstone.
  • Classical embryology long ago demonstrated that grafting dental epithelium onto non-dental mesenchyme could produce tooth-like structures if the experiment were performed early enough in development.

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