break (one's) ass
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break (one's) ass
1. To exert a significant amount of energy or work very hard to do, accomplish, or complete something. I've been breaking my ass all night long to get this presentation ready for tomorrow's meeting. She's going to have to break her ass if she wants a place on the varsity team.
2. To harass, nag, or upbraid one to do, accomplish, or complete something. The boss is breaking everyone's asses to get the project ready by next week. Quit breaking my ass! I'll get it done eventually!
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
break one's ass
Also, break or bust one's ass or balls or butt or chops .
1. Exert oneself to the utmost, try extremely hard, as in I've been breaking my ass to finish early. This expression is considered vulgar slang; both ass, for backside or buttocks, and balls, for male genitals, are rude; butt, for buttocks, and chops, for either the mouth or the legs, are informal and emphatic but not quite as offensive. For a more polite synonym, see break one's back. [Slang; first half of 1900s]
2. break someone's ass. Also, bust someone's chops. Thrash or harass someone, as in Jim threatened to break Tim's ass, or The boss broke his workers' chops to improve service. [ Vulgar slang; mid-1900s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
break/bust one's ass
Exert oneself to the utmost degree; work very hard. This rather vulgar usage dates from the first half of the 1900s. Norman Mailer had it in his war novel, The Naked and the Dead (1948): “What’re we breakin’ our asses for? Let’s take it easy.” Sometimes “butt” is substituted for “ass.” See also work one's tail off.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer