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plow under

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Cause to vanish, overwhelm, as in The independent bookstores are being plowed under by the large chains. This term alludes to the farmer's burying vegetation by turning it into the soil with a plow. [Second half of 1900s]

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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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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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