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take a chainsaw to (something)

1. To destroy something completely and mercilessly. He says the aim of his new film is to take a chainsaw to harmful stereotypes about his people. It's like they've taken a chainsaw to everything that made this town special, replacing it all with trendy shops and soulless condominiums.
2. To reduce the size, scope, or power of something immensely. The newly-elected governor vowed to take a chainsaw to the state's budget, which he claims has ballooned out of control. In a drastic attempt to bring in new customers, the bank has begun taking a chainsaw to the various fees and charges that it used to impose on all account holders.
3. To drastically alter or change something. I know my screenplay needs some work, but I don't think I need to take a chainsaw to it!
See also: chainsaw, take, to
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.


tv. to destroy something; to cut something up severely. The senatorial committee tried to chainsaw the nominee, but the full senate voted for confirmation.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Ethanol is a big issue in the chainsaw and two-cycle engine community.
He then laid face up under the snooker table putting the chainsaw against his neck, the court heard.
This is clearly premeditated as nobody goes out in the evening with a chainsaw.
Native American Duane Lefthand of Taos Pueblo knows all about chainsaws and arteries--both the kind that bear human blood and the kind that bear water, the lifeblood of our high desert culture and economy.
Indeed, the Variety review detailed a relentless barrage of blood, gore and cannibalism never seen before, homing in on scenes of "a girl being impaled on a meat hook" and "a wheelchair victim being disemboweled with a chainsaw." Nonetheless, the reviewer considered it well made--"for an exploiter of its type."
A: Actually, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which 30 years after its release is still always used as an example of cultural decay and the depravity of mass entertainment.
These innovative landowners combine airy idealism with steel-toed practicality; they are chainsaw environmentalists, hard-hat hippies.
IF THE AL DUNLAP OF Chainsaw were a fictional character, he would be dismissed as a figment of bad writing, a one-dimensional caricature: He capitalizes on his notoriety for mass layoffs by writing a book called Mean Business.
The High Court in Glasgow heard that at 2pm Brown, who was wearing only a pair of jeans, approached Arthur and pals Ian Martin, 61, and Matthew Waterson, 71, with the chainsaw.
Initial reports received by the DENR's Operations Center indicated some 87 chainsaws, including chainsaw operators, have deployed in Regions 1, 2, 3, 4A, and in the Cordillera Administrative Region, to expedite the clearing operations of major roads, including those posing danger to the public.
That's because the Texas Chainsaw Massacre baddie would have been forced to keep his motorised weapon away from the Tees Barrage, by order of the Canal and River Trust.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, some commenters on the nun's video also raised concerns and said it is dangerous to wear loose-fitting clothing while operating a chainsaw.
AN attacker brandished a chainsaw with its motor running in a town centre and threatened to chop another man's head off with it, a court heard.
Once considered a widow-maker because of its propensity to maim its operator, in the 1960s, the chainsaw came into its own as a farm and ranch tool--still considered dangerous, but safe enough for the general public.