make a dent in
make a dent in (something)
To make noticeable progress in a task or to consume a noticeable amount of something of which there is a large quantity. I have a meeting in an hour, but before that I'm hoping to make a dent in this backlog of documents that need to be filed. I didn't think we had made enough potato salad for the party, but we barely made a dent in it—look how much we have left!
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
make a dent in something
1. Lit. to make a depression in something. I kicked the side of the car and made a dent in it. Please don't make a dent in the side of the house.
2. Fig. to use only a little of something; to make a small amount of progress with something. Look at what's left on your plate! You hardly made a dent in your dinner. I've been slaving all day, and I have hardly made a dent in my work.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
make a dent in
Begin to accomplish or consume something, as in I've barely made a dent in this pile of correspondence, or Help us put a dent in this pie. This metaphoric expression alludes to striking a blow to make a physical indentation in something.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
make a ˈdent/ˈhole in something(informal) reduce something: Having to pay out unexpectedly for car repairs made a big hole in my savings. ♢ The embarrassing stories about his past made quite a dent in his reputation.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017