ACET Idiom of the Day!!

Today the Idiom is As Scarce as Hens’ Teeth!

Do hens have teeth? I don’t think so!! Like so many English idioms this conjures up a strange image.

This idiom is used to express that something is very rare and hard to find.

Example sentence – I looked in every shop to buy a red pair of boots, but I couldn’t find them anywhere, they’re as rare as hens’ teeth.

Where does this idiom come from?

The roots of this idiom are hard to trace, but it is believed to be an American idiom from the early 1600s. You may not know that birds don’t have teeth like mammals, although they may have a serrated beak, but definitely not teeth. So, when we say something is as scarce as hen’s teeth, then this object must be very rare.

Do we still use this idiom?
Not as often as we used to. Nowadays, you are more likely to hear people say: I couldn’t find the red boots anywhere, they are like gold dust.

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