make a dent in

(redirected from put a dent in)

make a dent in (something)

To make noticeable progress in a task or to consume a noticeable amount of something of which there is a large quantity. I have a meeting in an hour, but before that I'm hoping to make a dent in this backlog of documents that need to be filed. I didn't think we had made enough potato salad for the party, but we barely made a dent in it—look how much we have left!
See also: dent, make

make a dent in something

 
1. Lit. to make a depression in something. I kicked the side of the car and made a dent in it. Please don't make a dent in the side of the house.
2. Fig. to use only a little of something; to make a small amount of progress with something. Look at what's left on your plate! You hardly made a dent in your dinner. I've been slaving all day, and I have hardly made a dent in my work.
See also: dent, make

make a dent in

Begin to accomplish or consume something, as in I've barely made a dent in this pile of correspondence, or Help us put a dent in this pie. This metaphoric expression alludes to striking a blow to make a physical indentation in something.
See also: dent, make

make a ˈdent/ˈhole in something

(informal) reduce something: Having to pay out unexpectedly for car repairs made a big hole in my savings.The embarrassing stories about his past made quite a dent in his reputation.
See also: dent, hole, make, something
References in periodicals archive ?
KEVIN Westphal's superb diving header earned Seaton Delaval a point against leaders Walker Central - and put a dent in their title hopes.
Denbigh A put a dent in St Asaph A's ambitions with a 12-2 romp while Bangor City continue to struggle after falling again 10-4 at Penmaenmawr, Alan Dugdale 21-11 the pick of the Pen winners, Cyle Buckland 21-8 Bangor's top performer.
Of course, there's conservative Pat Buchanan of the Reform Party, who hopes to suck a little wind out of the Republicans' sails, and Green Party candidate Ralph Nader, who may put a dent in Gore's bloc.
Northbank put a dent in Whitley Bay A's title hopes as substitute Ross Irving claimed a second-half double for the Cumbrians.