Created on 14 July 2013
Idiom
Elbow grease
Meaning
If something requires elbow grease, it involves a lot of hard physical work, normally cleaning.
Origin
Phrase elbow grease "hard rubbing" is attested from 1672, from jocular sense of "the best substance for polishing furniture."
Context

Jane: Morning Simon, a little tired this morning?

Simon: You could say that.

Jane: Well, so you should be tired, talking all night with my friend must have been exhausting.

Simon: She's a very nice girl, very friendly.

Jane: She is a very nice girl: that's why she's my friend, or rather was.

Simon: We spoke about you actually and swim wear modelling, how draughty it was in those studios.

Jane: I imagine it would be, wearing nothing but a swim suit must be very cold.

Simon: You are being very understanding Jane, are you alright?

Jane: I'M FINE!!!!

Simon: Now Jane, take it easy, we were just talking.

Jane: Just talking were you? See this table I want it spotless when I get back. In fact it's a little like you, dirty, grimy and in need of a clean. I'd get going if I were you: it will need a lot of elbow grease.

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