Something scarce and not found in abundance, a rare thing or non-existent

Etymology:

  • This expression originated in the 19th century in America. Earlier the phrase was expressed as “scarcer than a hen’s tooth” which originated from a chicken pen, where hens are kept. It is noticing that hens do not have true teeth. To grind the food they eat, they have gizzards for that purpose. Since this is a distinct feature of hens that they don’t have teeth that simply suggest it to be a rare thing. Similarly the phrase means to suggest any thing that is nonexistent.
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Today some old species of animals are as scarce as hen’s teeth.

Submitted on February 25, 2019

Translation

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susto como los dientes de una gallina

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