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break a lance
To engage in a competition, battle, or confrontation, usually with someone or something. The newly elected congresswoman broke a lance with the House of Representatives today on the issue of discrimination in business. The faction sought to break a lance with the government as a means of securing greater autonomy.
lance the boil
To take a decisive and dramatic action that resolves or puts an end to a problematic, troublesome, or unpleasant situation. It's high time that we as citizens use the power of our vote to lance the boil of corruption in Washington! If we can't speak openly about employees being mistreated, we'll never be able to lance the boil for good.
1. To pierce someone or something with a very sharp, typically elongated object. You'll have to lance through the boil with a needle or something if you want the swelling to go down. The linebacker managed to lance through the offensive line and tackle the quarterback. The fish lanced through the water like a harpoon and leapt high into the air.
2. To spread through someone or something very rapidly and intensely. Sorrow lanced through his heart whenever he remembered the family and friends he'd had to leave behind. Pain lanced through my hand where the bee had stung me.
lance the boiltake decisive action to put an end to an undesirable situation.
The underlying image is of a boil being cut open with a lancet or other sharp surgical instrument, to release its pus.
2003 Yorkshire Post Today Mr Conway … said…it was time for Mr Duncan Smith to ‘lance the boil’ in his leadership. ‘There's a growing feeling of “it's got to end”.’
1. To pierce through something or someone: My spear lanced through the fish.
2. To permeate something or someone thoroughly and sharply: Pain lanced through the runner's body during the marathon.