make a dent in

(redirected from put a dent in)

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 something

also put a dent in something
to have an effect on something All the talk about kids eating too much sugar hasn't seemed to make a dent in the candy business.
Usage notes: sometimes used without in: Technology cannot fix education - no amount of technology will make a dent.
See also: dent, make

make a dent in something

  (British, American & Australian) also put a dent in something (American)
to reduce the amount or level of something The roof repairs made quite a dent in our savings. (often negative) Police efforts have hardly put a dent in the level of drug trafficking on the streets.
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
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.