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make or break

1. verb To cause (someone or something) to either succeed or fail; to cause either a positive or negative outcome (for someone or something). 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. This deal is our last chance to ensure the company's survival, so it's pretty much a make-or-break situation for us.
See also: break, make

make or mar (someone or something)

To cause someone or something to either succeed or to fail; to cause either a positive or negative outcome for someone or something. Primarily heard in UK. When you're young, you often think that big obstacles will either make or mar you, but as you get older you realize that it's not that simple. It all comes down to this penalty shot. One kick will make or mar their season.
See also: make, mar

mar up

To scuff, scratch, dent, or otherwise ruin the smooth surface of something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "mar" and "up." You're going to mar up your screen if you carry your phone around in your pocket without a protective cover of some kind. Look at my brand new car! Someone scraped along the side and totally marred it up!
See also: mar, up
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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.
See also: break, make

mar something up

to dent or scratch something; to harm the smooth finish of something. Please don't mar the furniture up. Don't mar up my desk.
See also: mar, up
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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.
See also: break, make
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 or break

be 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.
See also: break, make
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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.
See also: break, make
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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