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bare one's teeth

Also, show one's teeth. Indicate hostility and readiness to fight, as in His refusal to accept my offer made it clear I'd have to bare my teeth, or In this instance, calling in a lawyer is showing one's teeth. This figurative term transfers the snarl of a dog to human anger. It first was recorded as show one's teeth in 1615.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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