tooth-shy comb

  • Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    Please tell us where you found this expression, Aroohat. This is a forum rule. It would also be helpful if you gave a bit of context. You may quote up to four lines of text.
     

    aroohat

    Member
    Persian
    It is from The Crying Lot of 49 by Pynchon.

    clipped coupons promising savings of .05 or .10, trading stamps, pink flyers advertising specials at the markets, butts, tooth-shy combs, help- wanted ads, Yellow Pages torn from the phone book, rags of old underwear or dresses that already were period costumes,
     
    Last edited:

    Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    To say someone or something is shy of something means that they are lacking that thing.

    "He's $20 shy of having rent money" means that he needs $20 more to have enough money to pay the rent.

    "Bob is shy a few teeth" means that Bob has several teeth missing.

    A "tooth-shy comb" would be a comb which is shy (missing) teeth.
     
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