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What does "I had cut my eyeteeth" mean? And how can I translate it in Italian language?

A sample text is as follows:

As an intelligence officer, and even before that as a young student in the course of my studies at the British Museum in London, I had cut my eyeteeth on all of them, plus a good number of others with whom I imagined Americans were familiar.

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  • a simple dictionary search reveals much!
    – lbf
    Commented May 13, 2019 at 13:36
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    Translating into Italian is really for the italian.stackexchange.com site.
    – Karlomanio
    Commented May 13, 2019 at 14:53

2 Answers 2

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"Cut my [eye]teeth on" is an idiomatic expression meaning "to gain early experience." Typically, it refers to one's first experience with a subject. I don't know any Italian idioms, but you could translate the sentence instead as: "As an intelligence officer, and even before that …, I had gained experience with all of them, plus a good number of others …"

https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/cut+eyeteeth+on

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In English, an eyetooth is a canine tooth in the upper jaw, and a baby "cuts teeth" when teeth initially emerge in the baby's mouth. Figuratively, "to cut one's eyeteeth on X" means "to become familiar with and adept at dealing with X very early in one's life or in one's professional development."

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