break the back of (something)

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break the back of (something)

1. To quell something or destroy it altogether. This new initiative aims to break the back of the drug trade in our country.
2. To complete the most challenging part of a task or project. When you take the exam, you should break the back of the chemical equations first, since they give you the most trouble.
See also: back, break, of
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

break the back of something

Fig. to end the domination of something; to reduce the power of something. The government has worked for years to break the back of organized crime. This new medicine should break the back of the epidemic.
See also: back, break, of
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

break the back of

Overpower, overcome; also, get through the hardest part of. For example, This new offense has broken the back of the opposing team, or We're well over halfway there; we've broken the back of this journey. [Mid-1800s]
See also: back, break, of
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 the back of something

1. If you break the back of a task, you deal with the main or most difficult parts of it. The new government hopes to have broken the back of the economic crisis by the middle of this year.
2. To break the back of something means to do something which will destroy or end it. They would all like to be known as the politician who broke the back of global poverty. The government made a big effort late last year to break the back of the black market.
See also: back, break, of, something
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

break the back of

1 accomplish the main or hardest part of a task. 2 overwhelm or defeat.
See also: back, break, of
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

break the ˈback of something

finish the largest or most difficult part of a task: I won’t finish this report tonight but I’d like to break the back of it before I go to bed.
See also: back, break, of, something
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in classic literature ?
WHEN I broke the back of knight-errantry that time, I no longer felt obliged to work in secret.
Another from the Norman whizzed into the waist, broke the back of a horse, and crashed its way through the side of the vessel.
Prices were now deliberately pressed down to bankruptcy, while the railroads, with extortionate rates, broke the back of the farmer-camel.
'We broke the back of inflation during our rule,' Nawaz claimed.
By 2013, we basically broke the back of terror, I hugged then prime minister Manmohan Singh and told him it was one of the biggest achievements," he added.
STEVE Magoffin broke the back of the Durham innings to give Sussex the chance of claiming an important LV Championship Division One victory at Arundel.
It was almost exactly one year to the day that he broke the back of Hitler's surprise Panzer offensive by relieving beleaguered Bastogne.
Wayne Greenhaw's 18th book, "The Thunder Of Angels: The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the People who Broke the Back of Jim Crow," written with Donnie Williams, was published this fall by Lawrence Hill Books, an imprint of Chicago Review Press.
Tendulkar's occasional spin bowling broke the back of Australia's innings after openers Adam Gilchrist and Mark Waugh blasted 101 off 11.2 overs, chasing India's 309 for five in 50 overs.
Reagan, indeed, broke the back of inflation and cut taxes, too.