break the back of
Overpower, overcome; also, get through the hardest part of. For example, This new offense has broken the back of the opposing team, or We're well over halfway there; we've broken the back of this journey. [Mid-1800s]
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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.