make short work of

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make short work of

  1. (transitive, idiomatic) To make (a task) quicker or easier.
    A good electric screwdriver will make short work of the disassembly process.
  2. (transitive, idiomatic) To deal with or overcome (someone or something) quickly and without difficulty.
    • 1897, Maynard Barbour, The Award of Justice, ch. 26:
      "There was desperate characters here, but the vigilantes made short work of 'em."
    • 1914, James Joyce, "Counterparts" in Dubliners:
      "You impertinent ruffian! You impertinent ruffian! I'll make short work of you!"