a. One of a set of hard, bonelike structures rooted in sockets in the jaws of vertebrates, typically composed of a core of soft pulp surrounded by a layer of hard dentin that is coated with cementum or enamel at the crown and used for biting or chewing food or as a means of attack or defense.
b. A similar structure in invertebrates, such as one of the pointed denticles or ridges on the exoskeleton of an arthropod or the shell of a mollusk.
2. A projecting part resembling a tooth in shape or function, as on a comb, gear, or saw.
3. A small, notched projection along a margin, especially of a leaf. Also called dent2.
4. A rough surface, as of paper or metal.
a. Something that injures or destroys with force. Often used in the plural: the teeth of the blizzard.
b. teeth Effective means of enforcement; muscle: This . . . puts real teeth into something where there has been only lip service(Ellen Convisser).
6. Taste or appetite: She always had a sweet tooth.
v.(tth, t)toothed, tooth·ing, tooths
1. To furnish (a tool, for example) with teeth.
2. To make a jagged edge on.
To become interlocked; mesh.
get/sink(ones) teeth intoSlang
To be actively involved in; get a firm grasp of.
To express a readiness to fight; threaten defiantly.
to the teeth
Lacking nothing; completely: armed to the teeth; dressed to the teeth.
[Middle English, from Old English tth; see dent- in Indo-European roots.]
Word History: Eating, biting, teeth, and dentists are related not only logically but etymologically; that is, the roots of the words eat, tooth, and dentist have a common origin. The Proto-Indo-European root *ed-, meaning to eat and the source of our word eat, originally meant to bite. A participial form of *ed- in this sense was *dent-, biting, which came to mean tooth. Our word tooth comes from *dont-, a form of *dent-, with sound changes that resulted in the Germanic word *tanthuz. This word became Old English tth and Modern English tooth. Meanwhile the Proto-Indo-European form *dent- itself became in Latin dns (stem dent-), tooth, from which is derived our word dentist. We find a descendant of another Proto-Indo-European form *(o)dont- in the word orthodontist.
1. (Medicine / Dentistry) any of various bonelike structures set in the jaws of most vertebrates and modified, according to the species, for biting, tearing, or chewing Related adj dental
2. (Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Zoology) 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. (Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Botany) any of the various small indentations occurring on the margin of a leaf, petal, etc.
5. (Engineering / Mechanical Engineering) 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)
long in the tooth old or ageing: used originally of horses, because their gums recede with age
tooth and nail with ferocity and force we fought tooth and nail
1.(tr) to provide with a tooth or teeth
2. (Engineering / Mechanical Engineering) (intr) (of two gearwheels) to engage
[Old English tōth; related to Old Saxon tand, Old High German zand, Old Norse tonn, Gothic tunthus, Latin dens]
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. See also dentition.
2. A similar structure in certain invertebrate animals.
cross section of an incisor
tooth /tu/ n.teeth /ti/ 1 one of a set forming a dental structure in the mouth used for biting and chewing: A dentist examines one tooth at a time.2 pointed parts of s.t., such as teeth on a saw, rake, comb, etc. 3long in the tooth: old 4fig.to fight tooth and nail: to fight with all ones power: She fought tooth and nail to keep her job.