millstone around (one's) neck(redirected from a millstone around their necks)
millstone around (one's) neck
A heavy burden. I wish I hadn't bought that house—the mortgage is a millstone around my neck.
millstone around one's neck
A heavy burden, as in Julie finds Grandma, who is crabby, a millstone around her neck. The literal hanging of a millstone about the neck is mentioned as a punishment in the New Testament (Matthew 18:6), causing the miscreant to be drowned. Its present figurative use was first recorded in a history of the Quakers (c. 1720).
a millstone around your neckBRITISH, AMERICAN or
a millstone round your neckBRITISH
COMMON If something is a millstone around your neck or a millstone round your neck, it is a very unpleasant problem or responsibility that you cannot escape from. The country's inefficient telephone company has been a millstone round the government's neck. Long-term illness can make you feel like a millstone around your family's necks. Note: Millstone is often used on its own with this meaning. There is the continuing millstone of the country's enormous foreign debt. Note: A millstone is one of a pair of very heavy round flat stones which are used to grind grain. Jesus referred to children in Matthew 18:5 by saying, `Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.'