Break-the-back



break the back

To do the hardest part, or most, of a job (1890+)
To make ineffective; cripple: The UN’s mission is to break the back of the warlords in Somalia (1970s+)

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  • Break–the–back–of

    the rear part of the human body, extending from the neck to the lower end of the spine. the part of the body of animals corresponding to the human back. the rear portion of any part of the body: the back of the head. the whole body, with reference to clothing: the clothes on his […]

  • Break-the-bank

    break the bank Ruin one financially, exhaust one’s resources, as in I guess the price of a movie won’t break the bank. This term originated in gambling, where it means that a player has won more than the banker (the house) can pay. It also may be used ironically, as above. [ c. 1600 ]



  • Break–the–ice

    the solid form of water, produced by freezing; frozen water. the frozen surface of a body of water. any substance resembling frozen water: camphor ice. a frozen dessert made of sweetened water and fruit juice. British, ice cream. icing, as on a cake. reserve; formality: The ice of his manner betrayed his dislike of the […]

  • Break-the-news

    Make something known, as in We suspected that she was pregnant but waited for her to break the news to her in-laws. This term, in slightly different form (break a matter or break a business), dates from the early 1500s. Another variant is the 20th-century journalistic phrase, break a story, meaning “to reveal a news […]



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