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make or break

1. verb To cause either to succeed or to fail; to cause either a positive or negative outcome. When you're young, you often think that big obstacles will either make or break you, but as you get older you realize that it's not that simple. One kick can make or break their season.
2. adjective Describing such a scenario. In this usage, the phrase is usually hyphenated. This shot is make-or-break for the home team.
See also: break, make

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 ?
As on Earth, dust devils on Mars arise from atmospheric turbulence.
In Canada, science interest for Mars is there," he says.
Follow the Mars rovers and other late-breaking news about the Red Planet at Mars TV: www.
Right now this Mars story is a wonderful opportunity for doing that.
NASA scientists are excited because the billboard would be proof of life on Mars, Another interpretation could be that NASA scientists are excited by the possibility of commercial development on Mars.
I know somebody who's not bothering to get a Mars watch.
In certain respects, after all, the contest between Hershey and Mars (who together control something like 75 percent of the U.
By drastically lowering mission costs, Mars Direct could extricate the red planet from its current political oblivion.
We see a prepubescent Mars selling peeks of her undies to a local creep to earn money for a motorcycle, a father-and-daughter outing to an X-rated drive-in, an openly lesbian relationship in her small-town Ohio high school, and a rape in Guatemala.
Computer modeling may enable us to terraform Mars, but poetry can confront us with the implications of such an act.
MARS occupies roughly 76,000 square feet on the building's top two floors.
Researchers now report that a spectrometer aboard the European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft has found such water-beating minerals.
Separated at times by a distance as great as 65 million miles, the two planets are now moving within 34 million miles of each other, enabling even those with a low-grade telescope to get an exceptional look at the surface of Mars.
Dan Quayle, whose position as director of the National Space Council is one of his few real responsibilities, is very big on the Mars thing.