through the mill

through the mill


  1. a factory for certain kinds of manufacture, as paper, steel, or textiles.
  2. a building equipped with machinery for grinding grain into flour and other cereal products.
  3. a machine for grinding, crushing, or pulverizing any solid substance: a coffee mill.
  4. any of various machines that modify the shape or size of a workpiece by rotating tools or the work: rolling mill.
  5. any of various other apparatuses for shaping materials or performing other mechanical operations.
  6. a business or institution that dispenses products or services in an impersonal or mechanical manner, as if produced in a factory: a divorce mill; a diploma mill.
  7. Machinery. a cutter on a milling machine.
  8. a steel roller for receiving and transferring an impressed design, as to a calico-printing cylinder or a banknote-printing plate.
  9. Mining. a place or set of machinery for crushing or concentrating ore.
  10. Slang. a boxing match or fistfight.

verb (used with object)

  1. to grind, work, treat, or shape in or with a mill.
  2. Coining.
    1. to make a raised edge on (a coin or the like).
    2. to make narrow, radial grooves on the raised edge of (a coin or the like).
  3. to beat or stir, as to a froth: to mill chocolate.
  4. Slang. to beat or strike; fight; overcome.

verb (used without object)

  1. to move around aimlessly, slowly, or confusedly, as a herd of cattle (often followed by about or around).
  2. Slang. to fight or box.


  1. through the mill, Informal. undergoing or having undergone severe difficulties, trials, etc., especially with an effect on one’s health, personality, or character: He’s really been through the mill since his wife’s death.


  1. a building in which grain is crushed and ground to make flour
  2. a factory, esp one which processes raw materialsa steel mill
  3. any of various processing or manufacturing machines, esp one that grinds, presses, or rolls
  4. any of various small hand mills used for grinding pepper, salt, or coffee for domestic purposesSee also coffee mill, pepper mill
  5. a hard roller for impressing a design, esp in a textile-printing machine or in a machine for printing banknotes
  6. a system, institution, etc, that influences people or things in the manner of a factorygoing through the educational mill
  7. an unpleasant experience; ordeal (esp in the phrases go or be put through the mill)
  8. a fist fight
  9. run of the mill ordinary or routine


  1. (tr) to grind, press, or pulverize in or as if in a mill
  2. (tr) to process or produce in or with a mill
  3. to cut or roll (metal) with or as if with a milling machine
  4. (tr) to groove or flute the edge of (a coin)
  5. (intr; often foll by about or around) to move about in a confused manner
  6. (usually tr) rare to beat (chocolate, etc)
  7. archaic, slang to fight, esp with the fists


  1. a US and Canadian monetary unit used in calculations, esp for property taxes, equal to one thousandth of a dollar


  1. James. 1773–1836, Scottish philosopher, historian, and economist. He expounded Bentham’s utilitarian philosophy in Elements of Political Economy (1821) and Analysis of the Phenomena of the Human Mind (1829) and also wrote a History of British India (1817–18)
  2. his son, John Stuart. 1806–73, English philosopher and economist. He modified Bentham’s utilitarian philosophy in Utilitarianism (1861) and in his treatise On Liberty (1859) he defended the rights and freedom of the individual. Other works include A System of Logic (1843) and Principles of Political Economy (1848)

n.1“building fitted to grind grain,” Old English mylen “a mill” (10c.), an early Germanic borrowing from Late Latin molina, molinum “mill” (source of French moulin, Spanish molino), originally fem. and neuter of molinus “pertaining to a mill,” from Latin mola “mill, millstone,” related to molere “to grind,” from PIE *mele-, *mel- “to crush, grind,” with derivatives referring to ground material and tools for grinding (cf. Greek myle “mill;” see mallet). Also from Late Latin molina, directly or indirectly, are German Mühle, Old Saxon mulin, Old Norse mylna, Danish mølle, Old Church Slavonic mulinu. Broader sense of “grinding machine” is attested from 1550s. Other types of manufacturing machines driven by wind or water, whether for grinding or not, began to be called mills by early 15c. Sense of “building fitted with industrial machinery” is from c.1500. n.2“one-tenth cent,” 1786, an original U.S. currency unit but now used only for tax calculation purposes, shortening of Latin millesimum “one-thousandth,” from mille “a thousand” (see million). Formed on the analogy of cent, which is short for Latin centesimus “one hundredth” (of a dollar). v.2“to keep moving round and round in a mass,” 1874 (implied in milling), originally of cattle, from mill (n.1) on resemblance to the action of a mill wheel. Related: Milled. v.1“to grind,” 1550s, from mill (n.1). Related: milled; milling. Hardship or rough treatment, as in They put him through the mill, making him work at every one of the machines, or Jane was exhausted; she felt she’d been through the mill. This term alludes to being ground down like grain in a mill. [Late 1800s] see grist for the mill; mills of the gods grind slowly; run of the mill; through the mill; tilt at windmills.

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