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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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).
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 neckBRITISH, AMERICAN or
a millstone round your neckBRITISH
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.'
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
hard as the nether millstonecallous 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’.
a millstone round your necka 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.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
a millstone around/round somebody’s ˈnecksomething 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.
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.”
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer