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sledge-hammer argument

A strong argument that eliminates all opposition. I really want to win the debate next week, so I'm preparing a real sledge-hammer argument.
See also: argument

use a sledgehammer to crack a nut

To use excessive, overcomplicated, or extravagant means or force to accomplish something relatively minor or simple. With this new system of issuing licenses, the government has employed a steam engine to crack a nut: four separate departments now handle each stage of an application, when a single department could easily process applications from start to finish.
See also: crack, nut, sledgehammer, use

a sledgehammer to crack a nut

If someone uses a sledgehammer to crack a nut, they use methods to solve a problem that are far more extreme than is necessary. The widespread campaign by the government to reduce childhood obesity is, she says, using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Bankers say that the proposed law is a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Note: People sometimes replace sledgehammer with hammer. Robbins's film takes a large hammer to crack a familiar nut. Compare with be breaking a butterfly on a wheel. Note: A sledgehammer is a large heavy hammer which is used for smashing rocks and concrete.
See also: crack, nut, sledgehammer