make or break


Also found in: Acronyms.

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

make or break something

to cause something to succeed or fail His opinion could make or break a Broadway play.
See also: break, make

make or break something

to make something a success or a failure TV will either make or break courtroom justice in this country.
See also: break, make

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