View synonyms for tooth


[ tooth ]


, plural teeth.
  1. (in most vertebrates) one of the hard bodies or processes usually attached in a row to each jaw, serving for the prehension and mastication of food, as weapons of attack or defense, etc., and in mammals typically composed chiefly of dentin surrounding a sensitive pulp and covered on the crown with enamel.
  2. (in invertebrates) any of various similar or analogous processes occurring in the mouth or alimentary canal, or on a shell.
  3. any projection resembling or suggesting a tooth.
  4. one of the projections of a comb, rake, saw, etc.
  5. Machinery.
    1. any of the uniform projections on a gear or rack by which it drives, or is driven by, a gear, rack, or worm.
    2. any of the uniform projections on a sprocket by which it drives or is driven by a chain.
  6. Botany.
    1. any small, toothlike marginal lobe.
    2. one of the toothlike divisions of the peristome of mosses.
  7. a sharp, distressing, or destructive attribute or agency.
  8. taste, relish, or liking.

    Synonyms: predilection, partiality, fondness

  9. a surface, as on a grinding wheel or sharpening stone, slightly roughened so as to increase friction with another part.
  10. a rough surface created on a paper made for charcoal drawing, watercolor, or the like, or on canvas for oil painting.

verb (used with object)

, toothed [tootht, too, th, d], tooth·ing [too, -thing, -, th, ing].
  1. to furnish with teeth.
  2. to cut teeth upon.

verb (used without object)

, toothed [tootht, too, th, d], tooth·ing [too, -thing, -, th, ing].
  1. to interlock, as cogwheels.


/ tuːθ /


  1. any of various bonelike structures set in the jaws of most vertebrates and modified, according to the species, for biting, tearing, or chewing dental
  2. any of various similar structures in invertebrates, occurring in the mouth or alimentary canal
  3. anything resembling a tooth in shape, prominence, or function

    the tooth of a comb

  4. any of the various small indentations occurring on the margin of a leaf, petal, etc
  5. any one of a number of uniform projections on a gear, sprocket, rack, etc, by which drive is transmitted
  6. taste or appetite (esp in the phrase sweet tooth )
  7. long in the tooth
    old or ageing: used originally of horses, because their gums recede with age
  8. tooth and nail
    with ferocity and force

    we fought tooth and nail


  1. tr to provide with a tooth or teeth
  2. intr (of two gearwheels) to engage


/ to̅o̅th /

, Plural teeth tēth

  1. Any of the hard bony structures in the mouth used to grasp and chew food and as weapons of attack and defense. In mammals and many other vertebrates, the teeth are set in sockets in the jaw. In fish and amphibians, they grow in and around the palate.
  2. See also dentition
  3. A similar structure in certain invertebrate animals.


  1. A hard structure, embedded in the jaws of the mouth, that functions in chewing. The tooth consists of a crown , covered with hard white enamel ; a root , which anchors the tooth to the jawbone; and a “neck” between the crown and the root, covered by the gum. Most of the tooth is made up of dentin , which is located directly below the enamel. The soft interior of the tooth, the pulp , contains nerves and blood vessels . Humans have molars for grinding food, incisors for cutting, and canines and bicuspids for tearing.

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Derived Forms

  • ˈtoothless, adjective
  • ˈtoothˌlike, adjective

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Other Words From

  • toothlike adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of tooth1

before 900; Middle English; Old English tōth; cognate with Dutch tand, German Zahn, Old Norse tǫnn; akin to Gothic tunthus, Latin dēns, Greek odoús (Ionic odṓn ), Sanskrit dánta

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Word History and Origins

Origin of tooth1

Old English tōth; related to Old Saxon tand, Old High German zand, Old Norse tonn, Gothic tunthus, Latin dens

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. by the skin of one's teeth, barely:

    He got away by the skin of his teeth.

  2. cast / throw in someone's teeth, to reproach someone for (an action):

    History will ever throw this blunder in his teeth.

  3. cut one's teeth on, to do at the beginning of one's education, career, etc., or in one's youth:

    The hunter boasted of having cut his teeth on tigers.

  4. in the teeth of,
    1. so as to face or confront; straight into or against:

      in the teeth of the wind.

    2. in defiance of; in opposition to:

      She maintained her stand in the teeth of public opinion.

  5. long in the tooth, old; elderly.
  6. put teeth in / into, to establish or increase the effectiveness of:

    to put teeth into the law.

  7. set one's teeth, to become resolute; prepare for difficulty:

    He set his teeth and separated the combatants.

  8. set / put one's teeth on edge,
    1. to induce an unpleasant sensation.
    2. to repel; irritate:

      The noise of the machines sets my teeth on edge.

  9. show one's teeth, to become hostile or threatening; exhibit anger:

    Usually friendly, she suddenly began to show her teeth.

  10. to the teeth, entirely; fully:

    armed to the teeth; dressed to the teeth in furs.

More idioms and phrases containing tooth

In addition to the idiom beginning with tooth , also see fight tooth and nail ; fine-tooth comb ; long in the tooth ; sweet tooth . Also see under teeth .

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Example Sentences

After graduating from Kalamazoo College, he cut his teeth at Second City in Chicago and eventually moved to Los Angeles.

Think about how much easier it is to pull an apple from a tree using hands rather than with your teeth.

Shark teeth cut into flesh on jaws that extend outwards towards prey independently of the skull.

If soft tissue or teeth from bobbit worms were found preserved inside a burrow, that would confirm that these animals were living in the area 20 million years ago.

Crooked teeth, cut-open faces and bloodied attire is no match for you and your camera skills.

Before anti-vaxxers, there were anti-fluoriders: a group who spread fear about the anti-tooth decay agent added to drinking water.

As a means of preventing tooth decay in those cities that do fluoridate, the practice certainly looks like a success.

For all of the bellyaching, tooth gnashing, and public wailing, Democrats have no one to blame but themselves.

This award is fought over tooth-and-nail each year by political consultants from sea to shining sea.

Spooky Tooth had reformed quite a while before I received the call and were touring quite often.

The exhaust-valve is exactly as when it was put in, worked by a rack-and-tooth segment.

An Irish housemaid who was sent to call a gentleman to dinner, found him engaged in using a tooth-brush.

An immense number of pilgrims come here every year to pay their adoration to this divine tooth.

If he has made the tooth of a poor man to fall out, he shall pay one-third of a mina of silver.

If a man has made the tooth of a man that is his equal to fall out, one shall make his tooth fall out.


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.