millstone (around one's neck), to bear/carry a

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millstone (around one's neck), to bear/carry a

To bear a heavy burden, literal or figurative. The idea is mentioned in the Bible in the Gospel of Matthew (18:6), as a stone to be hung around the neck of an offender who will then be drowned. Even though grain continued for many centuries to be ground by using a pair of heavy circular stones, by the sixteenth century the term was also being used figuratively for an emotional or mental burden. Jeremy Bentham used it in his treatise on usury (1787): “The millstone intended for the necks of those vermin . . . the dealers in corn, was found to fall upon the heads of the consumers.”
See also: bear, carry, millstone
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