engine


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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

engine room

The main source of talent, power, or ability in a team or group, likened to the room that houses a ship's engine. Sarah is our engine room, so with her injured, I'm not sure how we'll be able to win on Saturday.
See also: engine, room
References in classic literature ?
I've known a derelict up-end and sift her engines out of herself and flicker round the Lower Lanes for three weeks on her forward tanks only.
All three engines are at work, for the sooner we have skated over this thin ice the better.
It struck me as a peculiarity that the laborers at the forge and those who brought fuel to the engine, when they began to draw short breath, positively emitted smoke from their mouth and nostrils.
While he was speaking the bell of the engine rang, and we dashed away after dropping a few passengers, but receiving no new ones.
I walked past our engine and up to the girl, and what do you think?
She stared at me, then at the snorting engine and then burst into tears, which you'll admit is uncommon behaviour for an Indian woman.
No, I think of sinking this engine in the earth alone, binding it with hoops of wrought iron, and finally surrounding it with a thick mass of masonry of stone and cement.
What, then you don't--' the little voice began, when it was drowned by a shrill scream from the engine, and everybody jumped up in alarm, Alice among the rest.
Throb, throb, throb, throb, went the engines in the stillness.
Save for the quiver of the engines it was as noiseless as a dream.
An' me on a wunter passage, blowin' a luvin' gale half the time, wuth hurricane force in atweenwhiles, an' hove to sux days, wuth engines stopped an' bunker coal runnun' short, an' me wuth a mate thot stupid he could no pass a shup's light ot night wi'out callun' me tull the brudge.
For twenty minutes the Coldwater bucked the great seas with her three engines.
All this time it had been impossible to work upon the damaged engines or the gravity-screen generators; but we had a full set of instruments upon the bridge, for Alvarez, after discovering my intentions, had fetched the reserve instruments from his own cabin, where he had hidden them.
There was one man at the rudder, one to tend the engines, and two burly police-inspectors forward.
The rudder might have been gone for all he knew, the fires out, the engines broken down, the ship ready to roll over like a corpse.