mar(redirected from marred)
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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.
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.
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.