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employ a steam engine to crack a nut

To use excessive, overcomplicated, or extravagant means or force to accomplish something relatively minor or simple. With this new system of issuing licenses, the government has employed a steam engine to crack a nut: four separate departments now handle each stage of an application, when a single department could easily process applications from start to finish.
See also: crack, employ, engine, nut, steam

employ (someone) as (something)

To hire someone for a particular role or job. I thought they were going to employ me as a file clerk, but because they needed help with data entry, I wound up doing that instead.
See also: employ

employ (someone) for (something)

To hire someone for a particular role or job. I thought they were just going to employ me for filing, but because they needed help with data entry, I wound up doing that instead.
See also: employ

employ (someone) in (something)

To hire someone to work in a certain area. I applied for the job as file clerk, but they employed me in data entry instead.
See also: employ

employ someone as something

to pay someone to work in some capacity. I employed Fred as a personal secretary for about three months. Can you employ me as a stock clerk?
See also: employ

employ someone for something

to hire someone for a particular purpose. I employ him for special chores around the factory. Kelly employed Walter for emergency repairs on the night shift.
See also: employ

employ someone in something

to pay someone to work in a particular type of work. I employ Tom in machine maintenance. Laura is employed in accounting.
See also: employ
References in classic literature ?
Elinor was employed in walking thoughtfully from the fire to the window, from the window to the fire, without knowing that she received warmth from one, or discerning objects through the other; and Marianne, seated at the foot of the bed, with her head leaning against one of its posts, again took up Willoughby's letter, and, after shuddering over every sentence, exclaimed--
On looking towards her again, I perceived her face clouded with embarrassment, but she was still writing on most diligently; I paused a few seconds; she employed the interval in hurriedly re-perusing what she had written, and shame and discomfiture were apparent in her countenance; she evidently found she had made great nonsense of it.
In the evening the young girl and her companion were employed in various occupations which I did not understand; and the old man again took up the instrument which produced the divine sounds that had enchanted me in the morning.
Thirdly, they have got up among themselves a periodical called THE LOWELL OFFERING, 'A repository of original articles, written exclusively by females actively employed in the mills,' - which is duly printed, published, and sold; and whereof I brought away from Lowell four hundred good solid pages, which I have read from beginning to end.
Mark Isherwood, Conservative, North Wales: His wife Hilary has been employed as a constituency caseworker since May 2003 for five hours per week.
Increased the number of employment in the local market between the 1st quarter 2013 and 2nd quarter 2013 The number of employed in the local market increased from 768 thousand in the 1st quarter 2013 to 801 thousand in the 2nd quarter 2013.
Murray, who has employed her husband Jeff Leaver as a part-time researcher since 2002, said: "He was appointed after a competitive interview with the post advertised both nationally and locally.
The data on the structure of active business entities according to the number of persons employed show that the highest share of 82.
Basamad said 18 companies benefited from the services provided by the employment center, including Avon Saudi Arabia, which employed 121 women to market beauty products of the company.
Most of the relatives are employed in secretarial positions or as researchers or assistants.
Relatives are employed by 12 West Midlands MPs at the taxpayer's expense, it was revealed last night.
MPs' expenses were under fresh scrutiny today after more than 100 revealed they employed relatives out of the public purse.
THE EUROPEAN Commission is considering a crackdown on hauliers who claim to be 'self-employed' and so are exempt from the European Union (EU) working time directive, but who are de facto employed by a transport company.
Space shuttle work, which once employed several hundred people, now employs about 150.
S employed N (and possibly others) to prepare tax returns.