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through the mill

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Hardship or rough treatment, as in They put him through the mill, making him work at every one of the machines, or Jane was exhausted; she felt she'd been through the mill. This term alludes to being ground down like grain in a mill. [Late 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.

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