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salt mine

You can refer to any repetitive, difficult job or task as a salt mine. If your mom groans, "Off to the salt mine" as she leaves for work, she probably doesn't love her job.

The literal definition of salt mine — a mine where salt is extracted — explains the origin of the figurative meaning. Work in a salt mine is physically challenging and monotonous, and any job that feels that tedious can be called a salt mine. People sometimes use the term in a more lighthearted or joking way: "It was a great weekend, but tomorrow it's back to the salt mine."

Definitions of salt mine
  1. noun
    a mine where salt is dug
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    type of:
    mine
    excavation in the earth from which ores and minerals are extracted
  2. noun
    a job involving drudgery and confinement
    synonyms: treadmill
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    type of:
    business, job, line, line of work, occupation
    the principal activity in your life that you do to earn money
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