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(See also OVERWORK.)
blood, sweat, and tears Adversity, difficulty; suffering, affliction; strenuous, arduous labor. The now common expression is a truncated version of that used by Winston Churchill in addressing the House of Commons shortly after his election as Prime Minister.
I say to the House, as I said to the Ministers who have joined this Government, I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. (May 13, 1940)
The phrase gained additional currency when it was adopted as the name of a music group popular in the late 1960s.
buckle down To adopt a no-nonsense attitude of determination and effort; to set aside frivolous concerns or distractions and concentrate on the task at hand. Buckle down to dates from 1865, and appears to be but a variation on the earlier buckle to or buckle one-self to, both of which probably have their antecedents in the act of buckling on armor to prepare for battle.
cleanse the Augean stables See REFORMATION.
elbow grease Strenuous physical effort or exertion; hard physical work or manual labor; vigorous and energetic rubbing, muscle. This self-evident expression dates from at least 1672. A hint of its original meaning is provided by the definition found in A New Dictionary of the Terms Ancient and Modern of the Canting Crew (1700): “a derisory term for sweat.”
get one’s teeth into To work with vigor and determination; to come to grips with a task or problem; also, sink one’s teeth into. This expression may be derived from the greater effort required to chew food than to sip it. Similarly, one who gets his teeth into something of substance is directing a great deal of physical or mental effort into completing the task.
in there pitching Putting forth one’s best effort; working energetically and diligently; directing one’s energy and talent toward a specific goal. Current since the early 1900s, this colloquial Americanism derives from the game of baseball, specifically the role of the pitcher.
Everybody on the system is in there pitching, trying to save a locomotive or piece of locomotive. (Saturday Evening Post, June 26, 1943)
put one’s shoulder to the wheel To strive, to exert one-self, to make a determined effort, to work at vigorously. The reference is to the teamster of yesteryear who literally put his shoulder to the wheel of his wagon when it got stuck in a rut or in mud in order to help his horses pull it out.
work up to the collar To labor diligently; to perform strenuous tasks energetically. A beast of burden is not considered to be working at its utmost capacity unless its collar is straining against its neck. This expression sees little use today.
|Noun||1.||exertion - use of physical or mental energy; hard work; "he got an A for effort"; "they managed only with great exertion"|
toil, labor, labour - productive work (especially physical work done for wages); "his labor did not require a great deal of skill"
struggle - strenuous effort; "the struggle to get through the crowd exhausted her"
difficulty, trouble - an effort that is inconvenient; "I went to a lot of trouble"; "he won without any trouble"; "had difficulty walking"; "finished the test only with great difficulty"
exercise, exercising, physical exercise, physical exertion, workout - the activity of exerting your muscles in various ways to keep fit; "the doctor recommended regular exercise"; "he did some exercising"; "the physical exertion required by his work kept him fit"
pull - a sustained effort; "it was a long pull but we made it"
overkill - any effort that seems to go farther than would be necessary to achieve its goal
supererogation - an effort above and beyond the call of duty
overexertion - excessive exertion; so much exertion that discomfort or injury results