back-breaking (work)


1. something extremely tiring and difficult, often requiring heavy physical exertion






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the work I did outside today was absolutely back-breaking!

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This idiom is generally used to refer to manual labour, but can also express any type of difficult or exhausting work. For example, if a job or task requires a lot of running around, or is simply mentally draining, it will still have a physical effect on a person, even if it is just to feel extremely tired. For that reason, this expression can be used in a context that does not necessarily involve lifting or moving heavy things. Phrases that share a similar meaning include 'work your fingers to the bone,' and 'do the donkey work.'

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  1. Doing that digging in the garden ended up being back-breaking work. I need a good lie down after all that!
  2. Fixing up the house was absolutely back-breaking. I would have been better off hiring someone to do it for me.

Check Icon Professional Examples (Basic)

  1. After months of back-breaking work, we finally managed to get the new business up and running.
  2. Working in a busy kitchen is back-breaking work but it is worth it when you get great reviews and people enjoy their food.

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