break the back of

break the back of something

Fig. to end the domination of something; to reduce the power of something. The government has worked for years to break the back of organized crime. This new medicine should break the back of the epidemic.
See also: back, break, of

break the back of something

to destroy something Police are hoping they can break the back of these gangs. Experts say we will have to live in a state of high alert until we break the back of terrorism.
Etymology: based on the idea that breaking the back of an animal or person usually kills it
See also: back, break, of

break the back of something

 
1. to defeat an enemy or to deal with an unpleasant situation There is evidence that government troops have broken the back of the resistance.
2. (british) to complete the worst or biggest part of the job We managed to break the back of the building work before the weather changed.
See also: back, break, of

break the back of

Overpower, overcome; also, get through the hardest part of. For example, This new offense has broken the back of the opposing team, or We're well over halfway there; we've broken the back of this journey. [Mid-1800s]
See also: back, break, of
References in classic literature ?
What Hewet fails to understand," he remarked, "is that we must break the back of the ascent before midday.
If that shepherd be not in hand-fast, let him fly; the curses he shall have, the tortures he shall feel, will break the back of man, the heart of monster.
They must come in and offer the shares to us to break the back of this cost-of-living cartel that we have in the country," he told the National Assembly during debate on the 2001 National Budget.
Bondholders are likely to take a tough stance because Ecuador's debt is too small to break the back of any banks.
How many straws does it take to break the back of the average taxpayer?
He said: "This is a huge national effort to break the back of long-term youth unemployment once and for all.
We don't have the overhead so we are able to make it cost-effective for us to move into the property and break the back of the leasing," said Kligerman.
Hyperinflation II--The Cure--In 1980, Ronald Reagan ran for president with a two-issue campaign: to free the hostages in Iran and to break the back of the hyperinflation that was ruining the economy.
Israel is demanding that Arafat break the back of the bombing campaign.
FCC Chairman William Kennard believes that "wireless will break the back of the Bell monopoly in residential and local markets.
The Communist government tried to break the back of Christianity and the Catholic faith.
Small business loans -- defined by regulatory authorities as commercial and industrial loans of less than or equal to one million dollars -- have been a top priority of Bank of Boston since May, 1992, when the bank announced its $3 billion Credit Initiative -- six months later increased to $6 billion -- designed to break the back of the New England credit crunch.