4

I just received this rather baffling pair of sentences in correspondence:

Tenors are usually like hens' teeth and about as musical. We think your teeth are more musical than that!

The context is that I regrettably had to call in my absence due to having taken ill. I think it is meant in a positive sense, but I can't make heads or tails of it.

  • 8
    Hen's teeth is an idiom meaning either vanishingly rare or nonexistent (because hen don't have teeth)z she's saying it's hard to find tenors, and even harder to find ones with (musical talent). Because you are tenor with musical talent, she regrets your absence, and wants you back for the next performance or practice or whatever. – Dan Bron Jan 21 '17 at 18:55
  • 1
    So, with that solved, we might want to discuss your partial capitalisation of the word 'Earth' in your question... – We oath to creation Jan 21 '17 at 18:58
  • 2
    @DanBron how long did it take to compose that comment? The same time it would have taken to post it as an answer. Or refrain from giving answers in comments within three minutes of a question being posted, or write an answer! – Mari-Lou A Jan 21 '17 at 19:38
  • 4
    @Keepthesemind Yeah, I know, idioms usually leave the earth non-capitalised. I just think it makes more sense with a capital E, as I am referring to the planet, not soil. – konaya Jan 21 '17 at 19:44
  • 1
    @Mari-LouA I think questions like this should be off-topic "What does this email I got mean?" are as useful as proofreading. – Mitch Jan 25 '17 at 15:30
7

Expanding upon Dan Bron's comment:

Hen's teeth is an idiom meaning either vanishingly rare or nonexistent (because birds don't have teeth).

She's saying it's hard to find tenors, and even harder to find ones with (musical) talent. Because you are tenor with musical talent, she regrets your absence, and wants you back for the next performance or practice or whatever.

See: Scarce as hen's teethDictionary.com

"On a rainy night, taxis are as scarce as hen's teeth."

  • 2
    Why would a CW answer be downvoted is beyond me, the question is not off topic, and the comment got 7 upvotes. Tsk... users, who understands 'em? – Mari-Lou A Jan 25 '17 at 15:54
  • 1
    @Mari-Lou A The downvoter forgot to take his meds – ab2 Jan 25 '17 at 18:03
  • I know what the idiom hen's teeth mean. I just found the rest of it baffling. If you're sure there's nothing more to it, though, I'll accept this answer. – konaya Jan 26 '17 at 8:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.