break the back of
accomplish the main or hardest part of a task
overwhelm or defeat
Related Idioms and Phrases :
break the bank
(in gambling) win more money than is held by the bank.
cost more than you can afford – informal
break a butterfly on a wheel
use unnecessary force in destroying something fragile or insignificant
In former times, breaking someone upon the wheel
was a form of punishment or torture which involved fastening criminals to a wheel so that their bones would be broken or dislocated.
1998 - Times - But why break a butterfly upon a wheel? What harm does the Liberal Democrat leader do? Unfortunately he may be about to do a great deal.
break a leg!
good luck! - theatrical slang
emerge into the open
suddenly leave a place of shelter.
Break cover originally referred to a hunted animal emerging from the undergrowth in which it had been hiding.
break the ice
do or say something to relieve tension or get conversation started at the start of a party or when people meet for the first time.
break the mould
put an end to a pattern of events or behaviour, especially one that has become rigid and restrictive, by doing things in a markedly different way.
Originally this phrase referred to casting artefacts in moulds : destroying a mould ensured that no further identical examples could be produced. The expression became a catchphrase in Britain in the early 1980s with the foundation of the Social Democratic Party. Its founders promoted the party as breaking the out-of-date mould of British politics, a phrase used by Roy Jenkins in a speech in 1980.
break new ground = break fresh ground
do pioneering work.
(of soldiers or police officers) fail to remain in line.
fail to maintain solidarity.
fail to rejoin your ship after absence on leave.
give me a break!
used to express contemptuous disagreement or disbelief about something that has been said.
give someone a break
stop putting pressure – informal
let one do what one can without pressure
make a break for
make a sudden dash in the direction of, usually in a bid to escape.
make a clean break
remove yourself completely and finally from a situation or relationship.
that's the breaks = them's the breaks
that's the way things turn out (used to express a resigned acceptance of a situation) – North American - informal
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