fold, spindle, or mutilate

fold, spindle, or mutilate

To damage or alter something. The phrase was typically printed as an instruction on items that were to be read by a machine, such as punch cards. When I quit this job, I fully intend to fold, spindle, or mutilate my punch card!
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

fold, spindle, or mutilate

to harm or disfigure. Referring to a once-standard line printed on machine-readable documents, such as computer punch cards. (Such a document, if folded, placed on a bill spike, or otherwise punctured, would no longer be machine-readable.) At the bottom of the bill, it said "do not fold, spindle, or mutilate," and Jane, in her anger, did all three. Look here, chum, if you don't want to get folded, spindled, or mutilated, you had better do what you are told!
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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