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Broke the Back of It

Posted by Mike on July 28, 2005

Hi All,
I'm trying to find the origin of the phrase: Broke the Back of It, as in nearer completion of a task or getting the worst over and done with. I've asked where I work and have been given the following suggestions: linked to back breaking work; breaking the back of a book as you're reading through it, something to do with straws and camels; breaking someone's back as in rendering them impotent.
Does anyone know if any of these are correct or what the real answer is?
Any help and seuggestions very welcome.