noun, plural eye·teeth [ahy-teeth] /ˈaɪˌtiθ/.
- cut one’s eyeteeth,
- to gain sophistication or experience; become worldly-wise.
- Also cut one’s eyeteeth on.to be initiated or gain one’s first experience in (a career, hobby, skill, etc.).
- 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.
noun plural -teeth
- either of the two canine teeth in the upper jaw
- 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
also eye tooth, 1570s, so called for its position immediately under or next to the eye.
- A canine tooth of the upper jaw.
Also, give one’s right arm. Go to any lengths to obtain, as in She’d give her eyeteeth for a mink coat, or He’d give his right arm for a new car. These hyperbolic expressions both allude to something precious, the eyeteeth (or canines) being useful for both biting and chewing and the right arm a virtual necessity for the 90 percent of the population who are right-handed. Both date from the first half of the 1900s, when the first replaced give one’s eyes, from the mid-1800s.