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put the brakes on

Meaning: If you put the brakes on something, you stop it or slow it down.

For example:

  • Many companies are putting the brakes on new investment until the economy improves.

  • The government has to put the brakes on the water treatment project until the corruption enquiry is over.

Origin: This metaphorical idiom is based on the fact that if you're driving a car and you "put the brakes on", the car slows down and stops.

Quick Quiz:

The United Nations will have to put the brakes on some important programs unless it can
  1. find more money
  2. waste more money
  3. print more money

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