break one's back

(redirected from breakneck pace)

break (one's) back

To put forth a great deal of effort. I've been breaking my back trying to get a passing grade this semester, so failing by two measly points is incredibly frustrating. Don't break your back trying to please these people—they'll never appreciate it.
See also: back, break

break one's back

Also, break one's neck. Make a great effort, work very hard. For example, I've been breaking my back over this problem for the past week, or Don't break your neck to get there; we'll wait for you. Both versions of this expression, polite equivalents of break one's ass, transfer the literal fracture of one's back or neck to figurative exertion. However, break one's neck has the secondary connotation of proceeding with reckless speed, a sense also conveyed by the term breakneck pace. Originally this idiom alluded to literally breaking one's neck by rushing heedlessly along, but it has been used figuratively for the past 300 years. Also see break the back of.
See also: back, break
References in classic literature ?
He didn't hear me call, nor see me flap my parasol in front, and there we were, quite helpless, rattling away, and whirling around corners at a breakneck pace.
A rolling cloud of yellow dust had streamed round the curve of the road, and from the heart of it had emerged a high tandem tricycle flying along at a breakneck pace.
Dan Booth, on fiddle, and John Leonard, playing just about everything with strings, bring a huge amount of intricacy to the breakneck pace of their songs.
Leaping forward at a breakneck pace, the narrator's chaotic journey, wrapped in uncertainty, carries readers along with him.
On top of that, T-Mobile announced that, beyond lighting up these new airwaves on LTE at breakneck pace, the Un-carrier is simultaneously laying a foundation for true nationwide 5G with breakthrough new equipment from Ericsson that supports both LTE and 5G.
A little crazy, it's breakneck pace, with really wild actions.
In the Texas Political Roundup: The Senate is moving bills in the special session at a breakneck pace, and a Senate committee will soon take up measures that would regulate the which bathrooms transgender Texans can use.
More importantly for Jaguar, it has been flying out of showrooms at breakneck pace - quickly becoming the company's fastest selling car.
It has flying at -More importantly for Jaguar, it has been flying out of showrooms at breakneck pace, quickly becoming the company's fastest selling car.
After decades of growth at breakneck pace, China's economy grew by "only" 6.
Held up at the back in a race where stablemate The Lillster set a breakneck pace, Monsieur Valentine appeared to lose all chance when finding trouble and touched a high of 210.
After decades of growth at a breakneck pace, China's economy grew by only 6.
WITHIN two weeks of celebrating its success in gaining landmark political representation within the Welsh Assembly, Ukip Wales is apparently imploding at breakneck pace.
An in-depth observation and analysis of the Chinese high-speed railway system (HSR), which over the last decade has developed at a breakneck pace.
Then, events unravel at breakneck pace, and the reader's patience is rewarded with an exciting story based on America's real past.