[ meyk-er-breyk ]

  1. either completely successful or utterly disastrous: a make-or-break marketing policy.

Origin of make-or-break

First recorded in 1915–20

Words Nearby make-or-break Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use make-or-break in a sentence

Other Idioms and Phrases with make-or-break


Cause either total success or total ruin, as in This assignment will make or break her as a reporter. This rhyming expression, first recorded in Charles Dickens's Barnaby Rudge (1840), has largely replaced the much older (16th-century) alliterative synonym make or mar, at least in America.

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