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Tooth for a Tooth in Chinese / Japanese...

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Ivory / Tooth

Japan kiba
Ivory / Tooth Vertical Wall Scroll

牙 is the character for ivory or tooth in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja. 牙 can also mean tooth, tusk, fang, or molar.

Tooth for a tooth

China yǐ yá huán yá
Tooth for a tooth Vertical Wall Scroll

This phase often goes with "An eye for an eye," even in Chinese. Revenge seems to cross all languages, cultures, and even species (animals are known to take revenge too).

If a Chinese person uses just one part of the full proverb, it will be this "tooth for a tooth" one. Although, we are more likely to say "eye for an eye" alone in English.

Chinese people may also read this with a meaning of "Bite me and I will bite you back." However, it literally means "tooth for a tooth" or "you take my tooth, I take yours."

Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth

China yǐ yá huán yá yǐ yǎn huán yǎn
Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth Vertical Wall Scroll

Here's the full proverb, with the first and second parts.

However, in Chinese, it's more natural to put the "tooth" part first, so this more accurately reads "Tooth for a tooth, eye for an eye."

If revenge is important to you, I suppose this is the phase you want on your wall.

Not the results for tooth for a tooth that you were looking for?

Below are some entries from our dictionary that may match your tooth for a tooth search...


If shown, 2nd row is Simp. Chinese

Simple Dictionary Definition

see styles
Mandarin/ ya2
Taiwan ya
Japanese kiba / きば
Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth Vertical Wall Scroll
Chinese tooth; ivory; CL:顆|颗[ke1]
Japanese tusk; fang
Tooth, teeth; toothed; a broker.

see styles
Mandarin/ yi4
Taiwan i
Japanese gi / ぎ
Chinese justice; righteousness; meaning; foster (father etc); adopted; artificial (tooth, limb etc); relationship; friendship; surname Yi; (Tw) abbr. for 義大利|义大利[Yi4 da4 li4], Italy
Japanese (noun - becomes adjective with の) (1) morality; righteousness; justice; honour (honor); (2) meaning; (3) {Buddh} teachings; doctrine; (n,n-pref) (4) nonconsanguineous relationship (i.e. of in-laws); (5) prosthesis; (surname) Yoshimura; (given name) Yoshimi; (given name) Yoshihiro; (given name) Yoshinori; (personal name) Yoshitsugu; (personal name) Yoshikatsu; (surname) Yoshi; (given name) Makoto; (given name) Nori; (male given name) Tsutomu; (given name) Tadashi; (given name) Gi
The right, proper, righteous; loyal; public-spirited, public; meaning, significance. It is used for the Skt. artha, object, purpose, meaning, etc.; also for abhidheya.



see styles
Mandarin yǐ yá huán yá / yi3 ya2 huan2 ya2
Taiwan i ya huan ya
Chinese a tooth for a tooth (retaliation)

see styles
Mandarin gēn / gen1
Taiwan ken
Japanese ne / ね    kon / こん
Chinese root; basis; classifier for long slender objects, e.g. cigarettes, guitar strings; CL:條|条[tiao2]; radical (chemistry)
Japanese (1) root (of a plant); (2) root (of a tooth, hair, etc.); center (of a pimple, etc.); (3) root (of all evil, etc.); source; origin; cause; basis; (4) one's true nature; (5) (fishing) reef; (1) stick-to-itiveness; perseverance; persistence; (2) (See 基・き・1) radical (esp. one that tends to ionize easily); (3) {math} root; (4) {Buddh} indriya (faculty of the body having a specific function, i.e. the sensory organs); (personal name) Nemawari; (personal name) Nemawashi; (personal name) Nene; (surname) Nezaki; (surname) Nesaki; (place-name) Ne; (surname) Konzaki; (surname) Kon; (surname) Kotakane
mūla, a root, basis, origin; but when meaning an organ of sense, indriyam, a 'power', 'faculty of sense, sense, organ of sense'. M.W. A root, or source; that which is capable of producing or growing, as the eye is able to produce knowledge, as faith is able to bring forth good works, as human nature is able to produce good or evil karma. v. 五根 and 二十二根.

see styles
Mandarin chǐ / chi3
Taiwan ch`ih / chih
Japanese yowai / よわい    ha / は
Chinese Japanese variant of 齒|齿
Japanese (one's) age; tooth

see styles
Mandarin píng / ping2
Taiwan p`ing / ping
Japanese hirame / ひらめ
Chinese family of flatfish; sole
Japanese (1) (kana only) flounder (esp. the large-tooth flounders of family Paralichthyidae, but also lefteye flounders of family Bothidae); (2) bastard halibut; olive flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus)


see styles
Mandarin chǐ / chi3
Taiwan ch`ih / chih
Japanese ha / は
Chinese tooth; CL:顆|颗[ke1]
Japanese (out-dated kanji) tooth
The teeth, especially the front and upper teeth; toothed, serrated; age, class.

see styles
Mandarin/ qu3
Taiwan ch`ü / chü
Japanese mushiba / むしば
Chinese decayed teeth; dental caries
Japanese (noun - becomes adjective with の) cavity; tooth decay; decayed tooth; caries


see styles
Japanese ushoku / うしょく Japanese (med) dental caries; tooth decay


see styles
Japanese kaen / かえん Japanese cavity margin (e.g. tooth, body)


see styles
Japanese nyuushi / nyushi / にゅうし Japanese baby tooth; milk tooth; first set of teeth


see styles
Mandarin rǔ yá / ru3 ya2
Taiwan ju ya
Chinese deciduous tooth; milk tooth; baby tooth



see styles
Mandarin rǔ chǐ / ru3 chi3
Taiwan ju ch`ih / ju chih
Chinese deciduous tooth; milk tooth; baby tooth


see styles
Japanese butsuge / ぶつげ Japanese {Buddh} tooth of Buddha recovered from his cremated ashes


see styles
Japanese kashi / かし Japanese false tooth


see styles
Mandarin fó yá / fo2 ya2
Taiwan fo ya
Japanese butsuge
Chinese Buddha's tooth (a holy relic)
buddha's tooth; buddha's tooth


see styles
Mandarin chōng tián / chong1 tian2
Taiwan ch`ung t`ien / chung tien
Japanese juuten / juten / じゅうてん
Chinese to fill (gap, hole, area, blank); to pad out; to complement; (dental) filling; filled
Japanese (noun/participle) filling (up); replenishing; filling in (tooth); loading (gun with ammunition, camera with film, etc.); packing; plugging


see styles
Japanese ireba / いれば Japanese false tooth; denture


see styles
Japanese deba / でば Japanese (See 出っ歯・でっぱ) protruding tooth; overbite


see styles
Mandarin qiē yá / qie1 ya2
Taiwan ch`ieh ya / chieh ya
Chinese incisor tooth


see styles
Japanese zenshi;maeba / ぜんし;まえば Japanese front tooth


see styles
Mandarin jī yá / ji1 ya2
Taiwan chi ya
Chinese abutment tooth (dentistry)


see styles
Mandarin nà duō / na4 duo1
Taiwan na to
Japanese data
danta, tooth, tusk, fang.


see styles
Mandarin jiān yá / jian1 ya2
Taiwan chien ya
Chinese canine tooth; fang; tusk


see styles
Japanese sashiba / さしば Japanese (1) post crown; dowel crown; false tooth; (2) "tooth" on a geta clog


see styles
Japanese hirame / ひらめ Japanese (1) (kana only) flounder (esp. the large-tooth flounders of family Paralichthyidae, but also lefteye flounders of family Bothidae); (2) bastard halibut; olive flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus); (surname) Hirame



see styles
Mandarin dàn duō / dan4 duo1
Taiwan tan to
Japanese danta
danta, a tooth.



see styles
Mandarin héng yá / heng2 ya2
Taiwan heng ya
Chinese permanent tooth (as opposed to deciduous tooth 乳牙); adult tooth



see styles
Mandarin dàn duō / dan4 duo1
Taiwan tan to
Japanese tanta
danta tooth, teeth; cf. 彈 and 娜.


see styles
Japanese basshi / ばっし Japanese (noun/participle) tooth extraction

Search for Tooth for a Tooth in my Japanese & Chinese Dictionary

The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...

Title CharactersRomaji(Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
kibayá / ya2 / ya
Tooth for a tooth以牙還牙
yǐ yá huán yá
yi3 ya2 huan2 ya2
yi ya huan ya
i ya huan ya
Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth以牙還牙以眼還眼
yǐ yá huán yá yǐ yǎn huán yǎn
yi3 ya2 huan2 ya2 yi3 yan3 huan2 yan3
yi ya huan ya yi yan huan yan
i ya huan ya i yen huan yen
In some entries above you will see that characters have different versions above and below a line.
In these cases, the characters above the line are Traditional Chinese, while the ones below are Simplified Chinese.

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Trying to learn Chinese calligrapher - a futile effort

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A high-ranked Chinese master calligrapher that I met in Zhongwei

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