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make or break someone

[of a task, job, career choice] to bring success to or improve, or ruin, someone. The army will either make or break him. It's a tough assignment, and it will either make or break her.
See also: break, make

mar something up

to dent or scratch something; to harm the smooth finish of something. Please don't mar the furniture up. Don't mar up my desk.
See also: mar, up

make or break

Cause either total success or total ruin, as in This assignment will make or break her as a reporter. This rhyming expression, first recorded in Charles Dickens's Barnaby Rudge (1840), has largely replaced the much older (16th-century) alliterative synonym make or mar, at least in America.
See also: break, make

make or break

be the factor which decides whether something will succeed or fail.
A variant of this phrase, found chiefly in British English, is make or mar . The use of make together with mar is recorded from the early 15th century, but since the mid 19th century break has become more common.
1998 Your Garden Neighbours can make or break a home and there's certainly no keeping up with the Jones's mentality here.
See also: break, make

ˌmake or ˈbreak

(informal) the thing which decides whether something succeeds or fails: This movie is make or break for the production company.This is a make-or-break year for us.
See also: break, make
References in periodicals archive ?
Garvin, lead scientist for moon and Mars exploration at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.
Through a telescope at his Lancaster home, Pedroza said he's been able to see major features of Mars, such as Olympus Mons - a volcano measuring 17 miles tall and 320 miles wide, considered the largest in our solar system.
At Mars, we take pride in all of our products which can be enjoyed as part of a healthy lifestyle, but given the unique environment of schools, we are proud to support the initiative and develop products that meet the guidelines," Mattikow continued.
There is a "direct conflict" between the geological and mineralogical evidence for water on Mars, says Bruce M.
The Mars Pathfinder Sojourner rover, which had less mobility and scientific capability in comparison, weighed a mere 24 pounds.
In September 1999, the space agency lost contact with the Mars Climate Orbiter satellite, which was about to launch a detailed study of the Martian atmosphere (see SW 11/1/99, p.
The Mars feature provides students with a comprehensive overview of the red planet, from how it got its name to the description of such physical features as its surface and temperature, and details on the exploration of Mars from the first through the most recent endeavors, including Spirit and Opportunity.
Even though the Odyssey probe has been taking data for just a few months and hasn't yet deployed its most sensitive instruments, data from three devices--one that measures gamma rays and two that detect neutrons--suggest there are copious amounts of hydrogen buffed 1 meter or so beneath the soil in the polar regions of Mars.
In addition to ``Mission to Mars,'' Val Kilmer and Tom Sizemore will lead a team of colonizing astronauts to Mars in ``Red Planet'' later this year.
After a 10-month, 700-million-kilometer (435-million-mile) trek, Surveyor has kicked into orbit around Mars with pinpoint accuracy.
It also will identify and evaluate potential landing sites for the next several Mars surface missions, leading to search-for-life and sample-return missions, and eventually a human Mars landing.
People have associated Mars with water ever since Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaperelli peered through a telescope in 1887 and saw a pattern of linear markings on the Martian surface.
The plot has Kilmer and Sizemore leading a colonizing astronaut team to Mars after Earth suffers several crippling environmental blows.
On Mars, however, such whirlwinds are larger and more common than their terrestrial kin.