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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.
millstone around (one's) neck
A heavy burden. I wish I hadn't bought that house—the mortgage is a millstone around my neck.
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?
(as) hard as the nether millstone
Tough or harsh and unlikely to submit. The phrase is Biblical in origin. Oh, that guy is as hard as the nether millstone—he'll never give you what you want in the negotiations.
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.
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).
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.'
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.