make or break(redirected from make-or-break)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia.
Related to make-or-break: gunning for
make or break
1. verb To cause either to succeed or to fail; to cause either a positive or negative outcome. When you're young, you often think that big obstacles will either make or break you, but as you get older you realize that it's not that simple. One kick can make or break their season.
2. adjective Describing such a scenario. In this usage, the phrase is usually hyphenated. This shot is make-or-break for the home team.
make or break someone
[of a task, job, career choice] to bring success to or improve, or ruin, someone. The army will either make or break him. It's a tough assignment, and it will either make or break her.
make or break
Cause either total success or total ruin, as in This assignment will make or break her as a reporter. This rhyming expression, first recorded in Charles Dickens's Barnaby Rudge (1840), has largely replaced the much older (16th-century) alliterative synonym make or mar, at least in America.
make or breakbe the factor which decides whether something will succeed or fail.
A variant of this phrase, found chiefly in British English, is make or mar . The use of make together with mar is recorded from the early 15th century, but since the mid 19th century break has become more common.
1998 Your Garden Neighbours can make or break a home and there's certainly no keeping up with the Jones's mentality here.
ˌmake or ˈbreak(informal) the thing which decides whether something succeeds or fails: This movie is make or break for the production company. ♢ This is a make-or-break year for us.
make or break, to
To bring on either success or ruin. This term began life as the alliterative make or mar, which dates from the fifteenth century (“Neptunus, that dothe bothe make and marre,” John Lydgate, Assembly of Gods). Dickens was among the first to substitute the current rhyming cliché (in Barnaby Rudge, 1840), which has largely replaced the older form.
See also: make