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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

mar up

To scuff, scratch, dent, or otherwise ruin the smooth surface of something. A noun or pronoun is used before or after "up." You're going to mar up your screen if you carry your phone around in your pocket without a protective cover of some kind. Look at my brand new car! Someone scraped along the side and totally marred it up!
See also: mar, up

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 ?
BIRMINGHAM HMV INSTITUTE Feb 9: Frightened Rabbit, Feb 19: Jake Bugg, Feb 23: The Lumineers, Feb 26: Of Monsters and Men, Feb 26: Walk The Moon, Mar 3: UFO, Mar 6: Foals, Mar 7: Beth Hart Band, Mar 9: Bastille, Mar 13: Lawson, Mar 16: Johnny Marr, Mar 26: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Apr 12: The Fratellis.
WOLVERHAMPTON CIVIC HALL Feb 2: Paloma Faith, Feb 22: Kaiser Chiefs, Mar 5: Sigur Ros, Mar 6: The Darkness, Mar 7: Status Quo, Mar 21: Skunk Anansie, Apr 6: Simple Minds, Apr 12-14: Marillion, Apr 19: Matchbox Twenty, Jun 13: Joe Satriani.
Leeds: Sunday Liverpool (h), Feb 9 Middlesbrough (a), Feb 24 Charlton (h), Mar 3 Everton (a), Mar 6 Ipswich (h), Mar 17 Blackburn (h), Mar 23 Leicester (a), Mar 30 Man Utd (h), Apr 1 Tottenham (a), Apr 7 Sunderland (h), Apr 13 Aston Villa (a), Apr 20 Fulham (h), Apr 27 Derby (a), May 11 Middlesbrough (h).
Stockport: Mar 10 Portsmouth (a), Mar 17 Birmingham (h), Mar 25 Bolton (a), Mar 31 Barnsley (a), Apr 7 Sheff Wed (h), Apr 14 Blackburn (h), Apr 16 Nottm Forest (a), Apr 21 Crewe (h), Apr 28, QPR (a), May 6 C Palace (h)
29, Pacific Festival Ballet, 4620 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy, Portland, OR; Mar.
Mar 7 Sheffield United (a), Mar 11 Manchester City (h), Mar 18 Birmingham (a), Mar 21 Fulham (h), Mar 27 Grimsby (h), Apr 1 Walsall (a), Apr 8 West Bromwich (h), Apr 15 Port Vale (a), Apr 22 Wolves (a), Apr 24 Norwich (h), Apr 29 Swindon (a), May 7 Crewe (h).
Mar 7, James Sewell Ballet, Mayo Civic Theatre, 30 Civic Center Dr SE, 507/287-2226
As on Earth, dust devils on Mars arise from atmospheric turbulence.
1 driver in bringing the Mars mission to reality, says Alain Berinstain, PhD, MSS director of Planetary Exploration and Space Astronomy.
This March, one of NASA's twin Mars rovers found what it was searching for: evidence that a lot of liquid water--an ingredient thought to be necessary for life to form--once existed on the Red Planet.
Here on Earth, educators are creating adventures for students to embark on some Mars expeditions of their own.
This cartoonist uses hyperbole (hy-PUR-buh-lee) to comment on the recent exploration of Mars by the NASA robotic probe Spirit.
THE EMPERORS OF CHOCOLATE: Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars By Joel Glenn Brenner Random House, $29.