We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What does It Mean to "Cut Your Teeth on Something"?

Michael Pollick
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Language & Humanities is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Language & Humanities, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Everyone has to start somewhere, and that's the philosophy behind the phrase cut your teeth. To cut your teeth on something means to gain your first significant experience. Someone who is a trained chef, for example, might have gotten his start flipping hamburgers when he was a teenager. A computer expert could have done so working on the first Apple II PCs. Whatever a person's field of expertise may be, he most likely cut his teeth working with less sophisticated equipment at an early age.

The expression cut your teeth most likely evolved from the sometimes painful realities of human dental development. Many young adults experience an eruption of third molars known as "wisdom teeth." Sometimes the eruption, or cutting, of these wisdom teeth is a relatively painless experience, but other times a painful crowding situation arises. These extra teeth may have to be surgically removed if their presence becomes problematic. Because the eruption of wisdom teeth or "eye teeth" often coincides with a young adult's first real work experience, the association between the two rites of passage most likely seemed inevitable.

Cutting your teeth on a particular machine or entry-level project may or may not be a satisfying experience at the time, but it often prepares you for more challenging duties. A professional chef in training, for example, may start out making salads or appetizers at a small restaurant. The job itself may be very demanding or repetitive or tedious, but if the chef should ever have to fill in for a missing salad maker years later, he or she would have the necessary skills to do it. By starting with basic equipment and procedures, you often develop a sense of mastery that could prove useful as your career advances.

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Pollick
By Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to Language & Humanities, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range of topics. His curiosity drives him to study subjects in-depth, resulting in informative and engaging articles. Prior to becoming a professional writer, Michael honed his skills as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.
Discussion Comments
By Crispety — On Feb 17, 2011

GreenWeaver - I think that is a great idea. I know that some schools offer internships and externships so that their graduates will have some form of experience upon graduation.

It really makes it easier to gain that first real job out of school. I think that now more than ever students are realizing how important internships are because jobs are becoming harder to come by.

By GreenWeaver — On Feb 14, 2011

When I think of the term “Cut your teeth “I always think of the entry level job someone has right out of college.

I cut my teeth in retail management before I moved into the staffing industry. There I learned valuable experience on managing people and interviewing potential new hires.

I think that a great way many people cut their teeth into an industry is by performing an internship with a company while in school.

My sister in law worked for a prominent architectural firm in Miami while in college. When she graduated she was offered a full time position and later went on to work on the World Trade Center memorial project with a New York City firm.

An internship is a great way to gain experience that you can spring board into other more lucrative work.

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to Language & Humanities, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a...
Learn more
Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.