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on one's shoulders

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As one's responsibility, as in The king carries his entire country on his shoulders, or The success of the conference rests on Nancy's shoulders. This metaphoric use of shoulders as the burden-bearing part of the body dates from the late 1300s.

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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.

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