1. cut one's eyeteeth,
    1. to gain sophistication or experience; become worldly-wise.
    2. Also cut one's eyeteeth on.to be initiated or gain one's first experience in (a career, hobby, skill, etc.).
  2. give one's eyeteeth, to give something one considers very precious, usually in exchange for an object or situation one desires: She would give her eyeteeth for that job.

Origin of eyetooth

First recorded in 1570–80; eye + tooth
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for cut one's eyeteeth


noun plural -teeth
  1. either of the two canine teeth in the upper jaw
  2. give one's eyeteeth for to go to any lengths to achieve or obtain (something)I'd give my eyeteeth for a radio as good as that
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for cut one's eyeteeth



also eye tooth, 1570s, so called for its position immediately under or next to the eye.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

cut one's eyeteeth in Medicine


  1. A canine tooth of the upper jaw.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.