\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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The idea was to relate those observations to the sizes, shapes and wear patterns of their teeth. Peter S. Ungar, Scientific American, "The Real Paleo Diet," 12 July 2018 Total wellness and education Dr. Carmichael’s office makes a visit to the dentist about more than just your teeth by providing wellness evaluations for every patient. Karlie Brand,, "8 reasons you’ll wish this dentist was yours," 11 July 2018 Inter qualified for the Champions League by the skin of their teeth after pipping Lazio to fourth place in Serie A on the final day of the season, making them a viable prospect for the defender., "Bayer Leverkusen Defender Tells Club He Wants to Leave as Inter Switch Beckons," 9 July 2018 Even as Craig described the dramatic final minutes of Wednesday's match, with Nashville frantically pressing for an equalizer and Louisville City forced to clench their teeth and muddy through, a note of glee mixed with the pride in his voice. Danielle Lerner, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville City FC keeps passing the tests in its U.S. Open Cup run," 21 June 2018 When the young man was able to use his teeth to escape the ropes, his mother began using a small chain to shackle him. Paloma Esquivel,, "Judge hears teen's 911 call in alleged abuse of siblings: 'My two little sisters right now are chained up'," 21 June 2018 One of the couple's son's reportedly told an investigator he had been bound with ropes but escaped by using his teeth to chew his way out. Crimesider Staff, CBS News, "In 911 call after escape, Turpin sibling describes horrific abuse, being "chained up"," 20 June 2018 And all about are the goats with silky, long ears, whistled to order by herdsmen who make the sound pinching a leaf between their teeth. Victoria Mather, A-LIST, "India Files: the Princely Grandeur of Rajasthan," 20 June 2018 Nearly 4,000 years ago, a woman and a man were buried together just east of the Volga River in modern-day Russia, with a secret locked away in the pulp of their teeth. Ike Swetlitz, STAT, "A set of ancient teeth unlock a bacterial secret about the bubonic plague," 8 June 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.

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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

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Statistics for tooth

Last Updated

14 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tooth

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

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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

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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).


one that holds something together

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