Origins of Cuspid Name and Nicknames
The term "cuspid" originates from "cuspis," the Latin word for point. That makes sense. And one look at long, pointed cuspids makes it easy to see why they're often called "canines." After all, they do resemble the fangs of dogs.
Did You Know? "Fangs" is yet another nickname for cuspids, aka canine teeth, aka eye teeth. At one point in Bram Stroker's iconic novel Dracula, the title character's dental anatomy is noted as "sharp, canine teeth lying over the red underlip." And the rest is horror-story, Halloween, and dental history.
But how did cuspids get the nickname "eye teeth"? One explanation is that they're located straight down under your eyes. (Mirror time again.) Or it could be because their roots are some of the longest in your mouth – though they aren't anatomically connected to the eyes.
It's thought that the phrase "give an eye tooth" came from sayings like "to give one's eye" or "to give one's right arm" for something of value. This colloquialism only emphasizes the importance of these special teeth!