Meaning of “Long in The Tooth” Origin of Phrase with examples.

Long in The Tooth


To be getting old.


Daddy needs a new Porsche. The old one is getting a bit long in the tooth.


Strange as it may seem this phrase’s origin is closely related to the origin of the phrase – Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

The age of a horse can be roughly determined by examining its teeth, since a horse’s gums recede as they age. The longer the teeth of a horse appear to be, the older the horse.

This expression derives from veterinary medicine – some animals have teeth that continue to grow much like fingernails. For example, rabbits and rats need to gnaw hard objects to wear down their growing teeth.

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