Long in the tooth

Definition: Elderly, past your prime.

Example: At the age of ninety-six, Herbert soon discovered he was a bit long in the tooth to dance the Macarena.


Long in the tooth is one of the few idioms that Iddy has found a definitive origin for, at least so far. It comes from the horse trade. The older a horse gets, the more its gums recede, making its teeth look longer. Thus, a horse that is ‘long in the tooth’ is old.

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