Student or Learner
Would you tell me whether I am right with my interpretation of the expression in bold in the following sentences?
Two big gold caps shone brightly in his wide, gap-toothed grin.
The régisseur hesitated, then smiled a slow gap-toothed smile.
Suzie gives him her best, gap-toothed smile, and then comes forward to take the gleaming chrome wheel, as Sam scrambles up on deck, kneeling where Ray had knelled before him to set the jib.
Alfred E. Neuman is the gap-toothed, goofy-grinned icon of MAD magazine, the humor and satire comics magazine founded by William M. Gaines in 1952.
We were early for band call and, except for a gap-toothed, long-haired hippie groping along in the opposite direction, seemed to be alone.
gap-toothed = having widely spaced teeth
Thank you for your efforts.
Yes. The technical term is "diastema (pl: diastemata)".
It can refer to gaps between any teeth but most commonly (with humans) to a gap between the upper incisors (two front teeth).
The expression can be traced back as far as Chaucer in English - he used it to refer to the Wife of Bath if I remember correctly. The folk belief of the time was that a gap-toothed woman was especially lustful.
I believe nowadays some cultures, especially African ones, consider it a mark of beauty.
However, it was popularised as an insult in American teen culture via the movie "Mean Girls" although it was used before then - teenagers do like to pick up on anything 'different', after all! I would be very wary before commenting on someone as "gap-toothed" nowadays as you can't be sure how it will be taken.
As a reasonably related and possibly interesting comment, the French have a delightful phrase they use instead: dents du bonheur (Lucky teeth). Much more postitive-sounding!