To break the back of

Definitions

  • Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • To break the back of to overburden, to complete the hardest part of a task
    • ***

Etymology

Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. bæc, Sw. bak, Dan. bag.

Usage

In literature:

So the poor victim of ill-faith was carried back to Fez, and set to break stones with his companions.
"The Red Book of Heroes" by Leonora Blanche Lang
The day began to break, and he turned back towards the piazza of St. Peter's, thinking of what he intended to do and where he would do it.
"The Eternal City" by Hall Caine
Society went back to Egypt and India for its models; to break caste was a greater sin than to break any or all of the ten commandments.
"The Colonel's Dream" by Charles W. Chesnutt
So Christ came back to break the fetters of sin, to open the prison doors and set the sinner free.
"Moody's Anecdotes And Illustrations" by Dwight L. Moody
The wind, he said, was backing and we might look for this spell of weather to break up before long.
"The Adventures of Harry Revel" by Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
While pushing them in, each man had his "rope" down ready to at once drop it over the horns of any animal attempting to break back.
"Ranching, Sport and Travel" by Thomas Carson
But, at that moment, Top, breaking loose, began to bark furiously and rush to the back of the corral, to the right of the house.
"The Secret of the Island" by W.H.G. Kingston (translation from Jules Verne)
On one side was a hollow "that" (as he soliloquised to himself) "would break the back of a buffalo.
"The Young Fur Traders" by R.M. Ballantyne
Long before that, however, the sun had come back to gladden the Polar regions, and break up the reign of ancient night.
"The Giant of the North" by R.M. Ballantyne
If you should break the bank, think of the advertisement when you go back to New York.
"The Lure of the Mask" by Harold MacGrath
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In poetry:

Break, break, break,
At the foot of thy crags, O Sea!
But the tender grace of a day that is dead
Will never come back to me.
"Break, break, break" by Alfred Lord Tennyson
Sing at the feet of God, white wave,
Song sweet as one of yore!
I would not bring thee back, heart wave,
To break upon this shore,
Ever -- ever -- evermore!
"Fragments From An Epic Poem" by Abram Joseph Ryan
Come back with me to the first of all,
Let us lean and love it over again,
Let us now forget and now recall,
Break the rosary in a pearly rain,
And gather what we let fall!
"By The Fire-Side" by Robert Browning
Of all am I bereft!
Only one sister left,—
A weeping willow, that to many a blast
Hath bowed her slender form.—
O God, hold back the storm
That thou shalt send to break her down, at last!
"My Father, Mother, Brothers, Sisters" by John Pierpont
They oped the gates, and outward in a great rush did they break.
And all the outposts of the Moor beheld them coming on,
And back unto the army forthwith they got them gone.
What haste there was among the Moors! To arm they turned them back.
"The Lay of the Cid - Cantar 1" by Anonymous European
But he left us at the last, when the seas and skies were blue,
In his bunk at break of day, as a common man might do:
And we'd weather fair as fair could be, but still we all were fain
To have our poor old Jonah and the bad luck back again.
"The Jonah" by Cicely Fox Smith

In news:

The University of Massachusetts has again welcomed students back to campus with a world record-breaking culinary treat.
The University of Massachusetts has again welcomed students back to campus with a world-record breaking culinary treat.
Grand Junction, Colo. After a few weeks of being on break, I am pleased to announce our Cat of the Week segment is back on track this week, and it's better than ever.
JP Samuel has one of his ventriloquism dummies with him as he waits by the window for the school bus and his mother Kris Samuel helps him with a smudge on his face on the first Monday back to school in Camarillo from summer break.
For those of you who would like to veg out and watch the first four seasons of Breaking Bad uninterrupted on Netflix, the streaming service has got your back.
The stage was set for the Ole Miss Rebels to break out of their midseason slump Thursday night and get back on the winning side of things.
A growing number of shoppers apparently need only the briefest of breaks before diving back in, especially if they can log in to shop.
Conditions at Colorado Springs, CO. A growing number of shoppers apparently need only the briefest of breaks before diving back in, especially if they can log in to shop.
Mississippi State wide receiver Chris Smith (8) tries to break the tackle of LSU defensive back Tharold Simon (24) in last year's meeting in Starkville.
Maddison Elliott, 10, of Redding, foreground, and other Girl Scout Juniors take a break during a snack earlier this week to play Untangle during the Girl Scouts Go Back to the Future Day Camp at Shasta College.
In 1999, when the Texas legislature deregulated its electricity market, breaking with decades of tradition that stretched back to Samuel Insull's Commonwealth Edison, rhetoric ran high.
A monument to the Spanish conquest, the Rich Mountain of Potosi, Bolivia has meant back-breaking work and early death for its Quechua Indian miners.
This week's episode of Breaking Bad ratcheted up the tension as Walt attempted to get back to business as usual.
Conditions at Lexington, Blue Grass Airport, KY. Week five of High School football is in the books, so we take a look back with a week five recap to the sounds of Breaking Benjamin's So Cold.
The act of tapping on the breaks to bouce a handcuffed suspect off the divider between the back and front seat of a cruiser.
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In science:

This can be the pull-back of Ai seen as one of the distinguishing features of an isolated horizon since even slowly evolving horizons at rate ǫ (related to the expansion of horizon cross sections ) will break it, though just by an amount of the order ǫ2 .
Quantum Riemannian Geometry and Black Holes
We must make good thermal contact to the back of each detector chip, while at the same time relieving stresses caused by differential contraction that could demount or break the chip.
Prototype finline-coupled TES bolometers for CLOVER
Figure 1: (a) A system of mass m falls from rest at infinity to a point ¯r close to the horizon rH (b) The system breaks into two parts so that it can send information back using a high energy photon, but this photon must have more energy at infinity than Hawking quanta in order to be distinguished from them.
Losing information outside the horizon
After several set-backs we developed a technique which allowed us to extend the resistive paint up to within a couple of mm from the edge, without the risk of a high voltage break down.
CALICE Report to the DESY Physics Research Committee, April 2011
These difficulties seem to go back to the classical singularities of presentation 28 of the chiral phase space PL which breaks down for τ in Eq. 24 in the boundary of the Weyl alcove.
On quantum group symmetries of conformal field theories
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