take a sledgehammer to crack a nut


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Financial, Encyclopedia.

take a sledgehammer to crack a nut

To take excessive, overcomplicated, or extravagant means or force to accomplish something relatively minor or simple. With this new system of issuing licenses, the government has taken a sledgehammer 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, take

take (or use) a sledgehammer to crack a nut

use disproportionately forceful means to achieve a simple objective.
A sledgehammer is a large, heavy hammer used for such jobs as breaking up rocks and driving in fence posts.
1998 New Scientist Fighting tooth decay by annihilating mostly harmless bacteria in your mouth is like taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut.
See also: crack, nut, sledgehammer, take