break ground


Also, break new ground.

1

Begin digging into the earth for new construction of some kind. For example, When will they break ground for the town hall? This usage alludes to breaking up the land with a plow. [Early 1700s]

2

Take the first steps for a new venture; advance beyond previous achievements. For example, Jeff is breaking new ground in intellectual property law. [Early 1700s]

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.