take a/its toll

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take a/its toll

To have a cumulative negative effect on someone or something. Based on all this water damage, it seems that leak really took a toll on our ceiling tiles. All those late nights working on my term paper really took a toll on me—I need about 24 hours' sleep to recover.
See also: take, toll

take its toll

Be damaging or harmful, cause loss or destruction, as in The civil war has taken its toll on both sides, or The heavy truck traffic has taken its toll on the highways. This expression transfers the taking of toll, a tribute or tax, to exacting other costs. [Late 1800s]
See also: take, toll

take its toll

If a problem or a difficult situation takes its toll, it causes unpleasant effects. The bad weather was soon taking its toll on most of the crew members. The separation from Harry was beginning to take its toll.
See also: take, toll