wear down(redirected from wear them down)
1. To become eroded, ground, or stripped down, as from exposure to some destructive element or force. The enamel on your teeth has worn down almost completely, which is why you've been experiencing so much pain when you eat and drink. The little chisel had worn down to a nub by the time he was finished digging.
2. To erode, grind, or strip down something as a result of exposure to some destructive element or force. A noun or pronoun can be used between "wear" and "down." Frequent travel along the route has worn down the vegetation to a permanent footpath. So much use is beginning to wear down the engine—it could give out at any moment.
3. To become exhausted, weakened, or fatigued by some action or force. I started wearing down from so much walking around the city. I think our horses are wearing down, so we should give them a rest.
4. To cause someone or an animal to become exhausted, weakened, or fatigued. A noun or pronoun can be used between "wear" and "down." Carrying these heavy boxes up and down the stairs is wearing me down. I'm hoping a day running around the beach will wear the kids down a bit. Be sure not to wear the pack animals down, or we could end up stranded here.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
wear someone down
1. Fig. to exhaust someone. This hot weather wears me down. The steamy weather wore down the tourists and made them stay in their hotels.
2. Fig. to reduce someone to submission or agreement by constant badgering. Finally they wore me down and I told them what they wanted to know. The interrogation wore down the suspect.
wear something down
to grind something away; to erode something. The constant rubbing of the door wore the carpet down. The rubbing of the door wore down the carpet.
Fig. to break down with wear; to erode. The steps had worn down so much that each one was curved and slanted dangerously.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Diminish, weaken, or tire by relentless pressure, as in The heels of these shoes are quite worn down, or Her constant nagging about getting a new car wore down his resistance. [First half of 1800s]
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.
1. To damage, diminish, erode, or consume something by long or hard use, attrition, or exposure: The weather wore the shingles down. The heavy crowds wore down the carpets.
2. To be gradually damaged, diminished, eroded, or consumed by long or hard use, attrition, or exposure: The water pipes have been in use for more than 100 years and are starting to wear down.
3. To fatigue, weary, or exhaust someone or something: The race wore me down. The new employee is wearing down my patience.
4. To become fatigued, weary, or exhausted: I was beginning to wear down, so I took a bus home instead of walking.
5. To cause someone to submit by relentless pressure or resistance: By holding out, we finally wore them down. Management finally wore down the union, and the strike was ended.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.