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drive a nail into one's coffin

To do something that causes you serious and permanent harm: “I told my uncle that every time he lights a cigarette, he's driving another nail into his coffin.”

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.