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plough on

To move, progress, or develop at a slow but constant and deliberate pace, especially that which is menial, time consuming, or tedious. Primarily heard in UK. John: "Hey Steve, what's new?" Steve: "Nothing much, just been ploughing on with research for my thesis." A: "I've still got a ways to go before I'll be finished clearing out debris from the property." B: "Well, just keep ploughing on until you're done!"
See also: on, plough

plow the sands

To do something that seems futile. I know that I'm just plowing the sands by telling you to stay away from that boy, but I'm your father, and I don't want to see you get hurt. That couch will never fit up the steps—tell them to stop plowing the sands!
See also: plow, sand
References in classic literature ?
458-464) So soon as the time for ploughing is proclaimed to men, then make haste, you and your slaves alike, in wet and in dry, to plough in the season for ploughing, and bestir yourself early in the morning so that your fields may be full.
465-478) Pray to Zeus of the Earth and to pure Demeter to make Demeter's holy grain sound and heavy, when first you begin ploughing, when you hold in your hand the end of the plough-tail and bring down your stick on the backs of the oxen as they draw on the pole-bar by the yoke-straps.
We must get the ploughing done first, Konstantin Dmitrievitch," answered Ipat.
TEAMS of horses will take part in the Vale of Glamorgan Ploughing and Hedging Society's annual ploughing match for the first time later this month.
AN annual ploughing contest aims to be a real crowd puller when it gets underway today.
CHURCH members flocked to Hade Edge to meet the World Ploughing Champion at the annual blessing of the plough service.
A PLOUGHING champ is heading down under next month to take on the world's best.
Mr Hall, who lived his entire life at Earsdon East Forest, began taking part in ploughing competitions at the age of 14, winning his first event at Longhirst Lane Farm in 1942.
PLOUGHING enthusiasts are putting their hands in their pockets to ensure Wales is represented at this year's World Ploughing Championships in New Zealand.
RARE TALENT: George Hall, pictured driving his restored 1940 David Brown trailed plough at a ploughing match.
LLANDYGWYDD (Bailey Farm, Llangoedmor): Horse ploughing Open: Jim Reynolds, Cwmderi, Penbryn, Llandysul.
On-lookers at the annual Flintshire Farmers ploughing match were left stunned when Mr Hooson's 52hp John Brown 990 tractor hauled a second two-furrow plough-mounted tractor at the same time.
When champion ploughman George Hall won his first ever ploughing match at the age of 14, he was very impressed with the Ransomes trailed plough that he had borrowed for the competition.
Anglesey Vintage Ploughing Society is now lining up weekend training courses for anyone who wants to try their hand.
Debbie, 15, of Bingfield Farm, Bingfield, near Corbridge, Northumberland, is the first female competitor from the county to qualify for the British National Ploughing Championship.