\ ˈtüth \
plural teeth\ ˈtēth \

Definition of tooth

1a : one of the hard bony appendages that are borne on the jaws or in many of the lower vertebrates on other bones in the walls of the mouth or pharynx and serve especially for the prehension and mastication of food and as weapons of offense and defense
b : any of various usually hard and sharp processes especially about the mouth of an invertebrate
2 : a projection resembling or suggesting the tooth of an animal in shape, arrangement, or action a saw tooth : such as
a : any of the regular projections on the circumference or sometimes the face of a wheel that engage with corresponding projections on another wheel especially to transmit force : cog
b : a small sharp-pointed marginal lobe or process on a plant
3a teeth plural : effective means of enforcement drug laws with teeth
b : something that injures, tortures, devours, or destroys jealousy with rankling tooth— Thomas Gray
4 : taste, liking
5 : a roughness of surface produced by mechanical or artificial means
in the teeth of
1 : in or into direct contact or collision with sailing in the teeth of a hurricaneCurrent Biography
2 : in direct opposition to rule had … been imposed by conquest in the teeth of obstinate resistance— A. J. Toynbee
to the teeth
: fully, completely armed to the teeth

Illustration of tooth

Illustration of tooth

tooth 1a: A outside of a molar: 1 crown, 2 neck, 3 roots; B cross section of a molar: 1 enamel, 2 dentin, 3 pulp, 4 cementum, 5 gum; C dentition of adult human, upper; D dentition of adult human, lower: 1 incisors, 2 canines, 3 bicuspids, 4 molars

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from tooth

toothlike \ ˈtüth-​ˌlīk \ adjective

Examples of tooth in a Sentence

The dentist will have to pull that tooth. You should brush your teeth every morning and night. She clenched her teeth in anger. He has a set of false teeth. the teeth of a saw The labor union showed that it has teeth.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Jack Frost has officially arrived in much of the country, bringing with him the type of cold that chills bones, chatters teeth, and saps moisture from otherwise well-tended skin. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "The 10 Best Moisturizers to Save Dry Winter Skin," 15 Jan. 2019 This clip from her October 2013 nuptials with Brandon Blackstock is so sweet, even true love's most determined naysayers' will get a tooth ache. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "Kelly Clarkson's Gorgeous Wedding Video Will Make You Ugly Cry," 13 Jan. 2019 The second was the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule, which sought to bring teeth to a provision in the Fair Housing Act of 1968 that went largely ignored for decades. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "HUD won one court battle, lost another under Ben Carson in 2018," 26 Dec. 2018 And locating a show for the wee ones that won’t set parents’ teeth on edge — among the thousands of options on Netflix — can be an especially difficult challenge. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "A dozen streamable shows and movies that kids can watch (and parents will like)," 24 Dec. 2018 Soon after, police received a report that Hannah had jumped out a second-story window at 1:30 a.m. and appeared at the nearby home of Bruce and Dana DeKalb covered in weeds and missing two teeth. Joe Heim And Julie Tate, Houston Chronicle, "As Hart children begged for help, system failed them," 12 July 2018 On Tuesday, Hart posted a snapshot of his brave daughter holding a tooth in one hand and $100 cash in the other. Jen Juneau,, "Pink's Daughter Willow, 7, 'Tattoos' Her Baby Brother Jameson — See the Adorable Art," 22 June 2018 This all might have caused some gnashing of teeth at Adidas, which terminated Rozier's deal over his wearing another company's shoes during a Celtics shootaround. Gentry Estes, The Courier-Journal, "Terry Rozier, one of the NBA's young stars, remains without a shoe deal," 6 June 2018 Enter Fete Home, the brainchild of Jennifer Potter and Audrey Margarite, who cut their teeth designing and distributing high-end entertaining and decorating items at Bunny Williams Home. Jennifer Fernandez, House Beautiful, "Fete Home Is the Decor Brand You Need to Know Now," 28 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tooth.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of tooth

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for tooth

Middle English, from Old English tōth; akin to Old High German zand tooth, Latin dent-, dens, Greek odont-, odous

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tooth

Statistics for tooth

Last Updated

21 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tooth

The first known use of tooth was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for tooth



English Language Learners Definition of tooth

: one of the hard white objects inside the mouth that are used for biting and chewing

: a sharp or pointed object that sticks out of something and is part of a row of similar objects

teeth : the power that makes something effective


\ ˈtüth \
plural teeth\ ˈtēth \

Kids Definition of tooth

1 : one of the hard bony structures set in sockets on the jaws of most vertebrates and used especially to chew and bite
2 : something like or suggesting an animal's tooth in shape, arrangement, or action the teeth of a comb
3 : one of the projections around the rim of a wheel that fit between the projections on another part causing the other part to move as the wheel turns

Other Words from tooth

toothless \ ˈtüth-​ləs \ adjective


\ ˈtüth \
plural teeth\ ˈtēth \

Medical Definition of tooth

: any of the hard bony appendages that are borne on the jaws and serve especially for the prehension and mastication of food — see milk tooth, permanent tooth

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on tooth

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tooth

Spanish Central: Translation of tooth

Nglish: Translation of tooth for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tooth for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about tooth

Comments on tooth

What made you want to look up tooth? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


important, real, or meaningful

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!