give one's eyeteeth

eyetooth

[ahy-tooth]
noun, plural eyeteeth [ahy-teeth] .
1.
Dentistry. a canine tooth of the upper jaw: so named from its position under the eye.
Idioms
2.
cut one's eyeteeth,
a.
to gain sophistication or experience; become worldly-wise.
b.
Also, cut one's eyeteeth on. to be initiated or gain one's first experience in (a career, hobby, skill, etc.).
3.
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.

Origin:
1570–80; eye + tooth

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
eyetooth (ˌaɪˈtuːθ)
 
n , pl -teeth
1.  either of the two canine teeth in the upper jaw
2.  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

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

eyetooth
1580, so called for its position immediately under or next to the eye.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

eyetooth eye·tooth (ī'tōōth')
n.
A canine tooth of the upper jaw.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

give one's eyeteeth

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.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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