millstone


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(as) hard as the nether millstone

Tough or harsh and unlikely to submit. The phrase is Biblical in origin. That guy is as hard as the nether millstone—he'll never give you what you want in the negotiations.
See also: hard, millstone, nether

a millstone about (one's) neck

An extremely difficult or disadvantageous burden or hindrance. I wish I hadn't bought that house—the mortgage has been nothing but a millstone about my neck. Given the man's laundry list of scandals, he's proving to be quite a millstone about the candidate's neck.
See also: millstone, neck

a millstone around (one's) neck

An extremely difficult or disadvantageous burden or hindrance. I wish I hadn't bought that house—the mortgage is a millstone around my neck. Given the advisor's laundry list of scandals, he's proving to be quite a millstone around the candidate's neck.
See also: around, millstone, neck

a millstone round (one's) neck

An extremely difficult or disadvantageous burden or hindrance. I wish I hadn't bought that house—the mortgage has been nothing but a millstone round my neck. Given the man's laundry list of scandals, he's proving to be quite a millstone round the candidate's neck.
See also: millstone, neck, round

bear a millstone (around (one's) neck)

To be forced to deal with some particularly difficult burden or hindrance. I never should have bought that apartment. Having to pay a second mortgage in this economy has been like bearing a millstone around my neck. You've borne this millstone for too long. It's time you forgave yourself for what happened.
See also: bear, millstone

carry a millstone (around (one's) neck)

To be forced to deal with some particularly difficult burden or hindrance. I never should have bought that apartment. Having to pay a second mortgage in this economy has been like carrying a millstone around my neck. You've been carrying this millstone for too long. It's time you forgave yourself for what happened.
See also: carry, millstone

look through a millstone

To have exceptional powers of perception. A millstone is opaque and thus is impossible to see through. I knew he was a dishonest person the minute I met him. I can look through a millstone, you know.
See also: look, millstone, through

weep millstones

Said hyperbolically of one who is deemed so cold and indifferent as to be unable to cry tears. I've never seen Claire show any emotion—in fact, she probably weeps millstones. Why didn't you comfort that poor little girl? Do you weep millstones?
See also: millstone, weep
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

millstone about one's neck

a continual burden or handicap. This huge and expensive house is a millstone about my neck. Bill's inability to control his temper is a millstone about his neck.
See also: millstone, neck
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

millstone around one's neck

A heavy burden, as in Julie finds Grandma, who is crabby, a millstone around her neck. The literal hanging of a millstone about the neck is mentioned as a punishment in the New Testament (Matthew 18:6), causing the miscreant to be drowned. Its present figurative use was first recorded in a history of the Quakers (c. 1720).
See also: around, millstone, neck
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.

a millstone around your neck

BRITISH, AMERICAN or

a millstone round your neck

BRITISH
COMMON If something is a millstone around your neck or a millstone round your neck, it is a very unpleasant problem or responsibility that you cannot escape from. The country's inefficient telephone company has been a millstone round the government's neck. Long-term illness can make you feel like a millstone around your family's necks. Note: Millstone is often used on its own with this meaning. There is the continuing millstone of the country's enormous foreign debt. Note: A millstone is one of a pair of very heavy round flat stones which are used to grind grain. Jesus referred to children in Matthew 18:5 by saying, `Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.'
See also: around, millstone, neck
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

hard as the nether millstone

callous and unyielding.
The nether millstone is the lower of the two millstones by which corn is ground. The phrase alludes to Job 41:24: ‘His heart is as firm as a stone, and as hard as a piece of the nether millstone’.
See also: hard, millstone, nether

a millstone round your neck

a very severe impediment or disadvantage.
A millstone was a large circular stone used to grind corn. The phrase alludes to a method of executing people by throwing them into deep water with a heavy stone attached to them, a fate believed to have been suffered by several early Christian martyrs.
See also: millstone, neck, round
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

a millstone around/round somebody’s ˈneck

something which limits your freedom or makes you worry: My debts are a millstone round my neck.A millstone is a very large heavy flat stone used to crush grain to make flour. This phrase refers to an old form of punishing people by tying a heavy stone around their necks and dropping them into deep water to drown.
See also: around, millstone, neck, round
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

millstone (around one's neck), to bear/carry a

To bear a heavy burden, literal or figurative. The idea is mentioned in the Bible in the Gospel of Matthew (18:6), as a stone to be hung around the neck of an offender who will then be drowned. Even though grain continued for many centuries to be ground by using a pair of heavy circular stones, by the sixteenth century the term was also being used figuratively for an emotional or mental burden. Jeremy Bentham used it in his treatise on usury (1787): “The millstone intended for the necks of those vermin . . . the dealers in corn, was found to fall upon the heads of the consumers.”
See also: bear, carry, millstone, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
Prior to Millstone, Neuberger held various senior executive roles.
--, Elspeth Hayes and Birgitta Stephenson in press 'Mapping a millstone: the dynamics of use-wear and residues on a Central Australian seed grinding implement', Australian Archaeology.
His party has left our city with over PS12m in annual PFI rents to pay for the next 15 years - this is the real millstone around our neck on top of his Government's massive cuts.
The agency approved a similar request for the Millstone 2 unit in April.
They have been farming at Millstone Moor Farm since 2008 and are well-known in sheep breeding circles.
With nowhere else to put its nuclear waste, the Millstone Power Station overlooking Long Island Sound is sealing it up in massive steel canisters on what used to be a parking lot.
D Stokes, detached garage, Millstone Farm-|house, Manchester Road, Marsden.
aptsandlofts.com is about to launch sales at The Millstone, a new eight-story, 14-unit condo in Long Island City's Queens Plaza North.
Alex Salmond famously described the pound sterling as the "millstone round Scotland's neck".
One of these experts was Erik Millstone, a professor of political science at the University of Sussex.
WITH the ever increasing difficulty to keep your head above water, it seems there's a surefire ministerial operation to load a millstone around your neck to end your dreams of keeping afloat.
The give-away is on its website news section, with a headline screaming: "Millstone approval for Liverpool Science Park."
Millstone, the school district's attorney, produced one, Freshwater glumly complained that school officials had gone through his classroom.