put a nail in (someone's or something's) coffin

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put a nail in (someone's or something's) coffin

To do something that leads to or brings about one's, someone's or something's ruin, downfall, or failure. That class action lawsuit is going to put a nail in the company's coffin. Every cigarette you smoke is putting a nail in your coffin. You know that, right? As I continued bumbling through the interview, I felt more and more sure that I was putting a nail in my own coffin.
See also: coffin, nail, put
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

nail in one's coffin, drive/put a

Perform some destructive (or self-destructive) act. The term first appeared in print in Peter Pindar’s (John Wolcot’s) Ode no. 15 (1789): “Care to our coffin adds a nail.” It was repeated over the years, and in the early twentieth century was taken up by the Anti-Cigarette League, which announced that every cigarette smoked was a nail in one’s coffin, giving rise to the colloquial name coffin nail for a cigarette. “Have you a coffin nail?” wrote O. Henry (The Higher Abdication, 1907).
See also: drive, nail, put
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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