the straw that broke the camel's back
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Possibly from the proverb, recorded by Thomas Fuller in his Gnomologia as "Tis the last feather that breaks the horse's back." This comes from an Arab proverb about loading up a camel beyond its capacity to move.
- (idiomatic) A small and seemingly insignificant addition to a burden that renders it too much to bear; the small thing which causes failure, or causes inability or unwillingness to endure any more of something.
- 1848, Charles Dickens, Dombey and Son:
- As the last straw breaks the laden camel's back.
small additional burden which causes failure