go through the mill

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Related to going through the mill: put through the mill

go through the mill

To be abused or treated very harshly; to suffer intense anguish, stress, or grief. I went through the mill as a kid in high school. I couldn't get out of there fast enough. The coach was renowned for his strict practice regimen, and his players went through the mill to become the toughest in the state.
See also: go, mill, through
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

go through the mill

If you go through the mill, you experience a very difficult period in your life with many problems. She's been through the mill these last few years — the collapse of her marriage and her career and a serious illness on top of that. It's been an incredibly tough tour and we have all been through the mill. Note: You can also say that something or someone puts someone through the mill. Following the England side over the years, I have been put through the mill emotionally. Note: The reference here is to grain passing through a mill and being made into flour.
See also: go, mill, through
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

go (or put someone) through the mill

undergo (or cause someone to undergo) an unpleasant experience.
See also: go, mill, through
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

go through/put somebody through the ˈmill

experience, or make somebody experience, something difficult or painful: It was a very difficult interview. They really put me through the mill.She’s been through the mill this year. First she lost her job and then her house was burgled.
A mill is a machine for crushing or grinding a solid substance into powder.
See also: go, mill, put, somebody, through
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

through the mill, to go/to be put

To undergo hardship or rough treatment. The analogy here is to being ground down like grain. The figurative use of the term dates from the nineteenth century. “We’ve all passed through that mill,” wrote Rolf Bolderwood (A Colonial Reformer, 1890). A newer synonymous phrase, dating from the mid-1900s, is to put someone through the wringer, alluding to a wringer that squeezes moisture out of something. For example, “When they suspect child abuse, the police really put parents through the wringer.”
See also: go, put, through, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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