a sledgehammer to crack a nut
use a sledgehammer to crack a nut
To use excessive, overcomplicated, or extravagant means or force to accomplish something relatively minor or simple. With this new system of issuing licenses, the government is using a sledgehammer to crack a nut: four separate departments now handle each stage of an application, when a single department could easily process applications from start to finish.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
a sledgehammer to crack a nutBRITISH
If someone uses a sledgehammer to crack a nut, they use methods to solve a problem that are far more extreme than is necessary. The widespread campaign by the government to reduce childhood obesity is, she says, using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Bankers say that the proposed law is a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Note: People sometimes replace sledgehammer with hammer. Robbins's film takes a large hammer to crack a familiar nut. Compare with be breaking a butterfly on a wheel. Note: A sledgehammer is a large heavy hammer which is used for smashing rocks and concrete.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012