put through the ringer

put (someone or something) through the ringer

To force someone or something to endure harsh treatment or criticism. Often used in passive constructions. After years of rigorous use, I've really put this old truck through the ringer. Wow, I'm glad that interrogation is over—they put me through the ringer.
See also: put, ringer, through

put through the ringer

Subjected to a harsh scolding or punishment. Before washing machine spin cycles, excess water was squeezed out of hand-washed laundry by means of a wringer mounted on an agitator-type washing machine or a sink. The device was composed of two cylinders set close together and turned by a hand crank. Being put through the wringer could be hard on delicate clothing, and being put through the metaphorical wringer, such as being chewed out by your boss, isn't much fun either.
See also: put, ringer, through