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, to

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

throttle down

1. To cause a vehicle to reduce in speed by decreasing the flow of fuel to the engine. A noun or pronoun can be used between "throttle" and "down" to specify what is being slowed down. The engineer throttled the train down to a stop so that the crew could begin unloading the cargo. You'll want to start throttling down the engine as you pull into the harbor.
2. Of a computer or component thereof, to begin operating with difficulty and at a lower speed or level of efficiency. After about 30 minutes, the computer gets really hot and then the CPU starts throttling down to about half speed. The network will automatically throttle down if too many people are using the Internet at once.
See also: down, throttle
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

throttle something down

to reduce the speed of an engine by adjusting the throttle. She throttled her engine down and came to a stop. She throttled down her engine.
See also: down, throttle
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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References in classic literature ?
If so, he is own brother to the engine he rides upon!"
He was the very fellow to manage the engine; and so we have reconciled him to the custom of going on pilgrimage, and engaged him as chief engineer."
"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.
With the subsistence of the sea, we were able to go to work upon the damaged engines to some effect, and I also set men to examining the gravitation-screen generators with a view to putting them in working order should it prove not beyond our resources.
For two weeks we labored at the engines, which indisputably showed evidence of having been tampered with.
A wave broke almost over them but the engine continued its beat.
They listened with strained ears - the engine continued to beat.
"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.
The stranger became silent and seemed overcome with sadness, but another blast from the whistle of the passenger engine aroused him.
The engine was manned by a driver and a stoker, and bore, by special favor, the Hon.
The long chimney running up beside an ash-tree, and the warmth which radiated from the spot, explained without the necessity of much daylight that here was the engine which was to act as the PRIMUM MOBILE of this little world.
He travelled with his engine from farm to farm, from county to county, for as yet the steam threshing-machine was itinerant in this part of Wessex.
'Don't make excuses,' said the Guard: 'you should have bought one from the engine-driver.' And once more the chorus of voices went on with 'The man that drives the engine. Why, the smoke alone is worth a thousand pounds a puff!'
"I really must see if I can't get a schooner with an engine. I might get a second-hand engine put in."