long in the tooth



Possibly from the practice of examining the length of horses’ teeth when estimating their ages: an old horse has long, rectangular incisors, and their occlusion angle is steep. Compare don't look a gift horse in the mouth.


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long in the tooth

  1. (idiomatic) Old, aged.
    • 1852, William Makepeace Thackeray, The History of Henry Esmond, Esq., ch. 2,
      His cousin was now of more than middle age. . . . She was lean, and yellow, and long in the tooth.
    • 2004, Chris Taylor, "Is Microsoft A Slowpoke?," Time, 10 May,
      So as Microsoft began its 30th year last month, investors wondered whether it's a little long in the tooth.

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