put through the mangle: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘put through the mangle’ mean?

The idiom "put through the mangle" means to subject something or someone to a difficult or exhausting experience, often resulting in physical or emotional stress.

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Decoding the Enigma

The idiom "put through the mangle" can be used in various contexts to describe different situations. One interpretation of this idiom is that it refers to a process or situation that is extremely difficult, challenging, or unpleasant. This meaning stems from the literal practice of putting clothes through a mangle, which was a machine used to press or squeeze water out of wet clothes. This process was physically demanding and often left the clothes wrung and twisted, symbolizing the hardship implied by the idiom.

Another way to understand "put through the mangle" is to see it as a way of subjecting someone or something to a thorough examination, scrutiny, or interrogation. In this sense, the idiom conveys the idea of a rigorous and exhaustive process of investigation or questioning. The origin of this meaning may be linked to the act of putting an object through a mangle to completely press and flatten it, similar to how information or evidence is thoroughly scrutinized or analyzed.

The idiom can also describe the experience of going through a series of challenging or unpleasant events or circumstances. It implies that the person has had to endure a difficult or demanding situation, often resulting in physical or emotional strain. The phrase can be used to describe a person who has faced a string of setbacks, obstacles, or hardships and has been tested or worn down by these experiences.

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Furthermore, "put through the mangle" can be seen as an idiomatic expression that emphasizes the intensity or extremeness of a particular action or process. It implies that something or someone has been subjected to a significant or severe force or pressure, often resulting in noticeable effects or consequences. This usage of the idiom highlights the idea of a forceful or impactful transformation, similar to the physical process of putting clothes through a mangle and witnessing the visible changes.

An idiom that is closely related to "put through the mangle" is "put through the wringer." This expression also conveys the idea of subjecting someone to a severe or demanding experience. It suggests putting someone through a difficult or trying situation that requires them to endure hardship or stress. The similarity between these idioms lies in their shared emphasis on the challenging nature of the experience and the strain it puts on the individual.

Another related idiom is "put through," which can be used in a similar way to "put through the mangle." It implies subjecting someone or something to a specific process or treatment that may be difficult or demanding. The phrase suggests a thorough or intensive engagement with the person or object, often with the goal of achieving a desired outcome. Both idioms highlight the rigorous nature of the process and the intensity of the experience.

The idiom "go through the mill" is another expression related to "put through the mangle." This phrase conveys the idea of experiencing a series of challenging or difficult events that test one's resilience and endurance. The idiom suggests enduring a process that is demanding or strenuous, often resulting in personal growth or transformation. Like "put through the mangle," the idiom "go through the mill" reflects the idea of facing and overcoming significant obstacles.

The idiom "put through the mangle" can be used to describe different situations involving difficulty, scrutiny, endurance, and intensity. Whether it is referring to a challenging situation, a rigorous examination, a series of hardships, or a forceful process, this idiom encapsulates the notion of facing and overcoming significant obstacles. Its origins in the literal process of putting clothes through a mangle provide a tangible and visual connection to the hardship and transformation implied by the idiom.

Example usage

Examples of how the idiom "put through the mangle" can be used in a sentence:

  • She put her manuscript through the mangle, editing it multiple times before submitting it to a publisher.
  • The company's reputation was put through the mangle after a scandal emerged.
  • After a series of intense interviews, the job candidate felt like he had been put through the mangle.

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