make a dent in sth

make a dent in sth
put a dent in sth

(to reduce an amount of something, esp. money or work) —

Examples:
Buying a new car put a big dent in our savings.
The holiday made a big dent in our savings.
I haven’t even made a dent in that huge stack of papers I have to read.
(CACD)

a dent (a reduction in something) — брешь

Examples: The cost of repairs made a serious dent in my savings.

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make a (big/huge/etc) dent in

make a (big/huge/etc) dent in sth
put a (big/huge/etc) dent in sth

(to reduce an amount of something, esp. money or work) —

Something makes a dent in something else when it has the effect of reducing it:
If you make a dent in something or put a dent in it, you reduce its amount or level.

Examples:
….. Getting these repairs done is going to make a huge dent in our savings.
….. Buying a new car put a big dent in our savings.
….. The holiday made a big dent in our savings.
….. The cost of repairs made a serious dent in my savings.
….. The savings from these cuts make only a small dent in the federal deficit.
….. The average family in Britain spends £100 a week on food, which makes a big dent in the household budget.

begin to accomplish or consume something, to show initial progress; pass an initial stage of (work, thought, solving a problem, etc.) -- делать успехи, продвигаться (в выполнении работы, в решении задачи, и т.п.)
negative ≈ еще конь не валялся

Examples:
..... hasn't made a dent in the problem;
….. at least made a dent in the work.
..... I haven't even made a dent in this pile of work.
….. I've barely made a dent in this pile of correspondence.
..... I haven’t even made a dent in that huge stack of papers I have to read.
….. We hardly made a dent in it all week.
….. Get busy! You haven’t even made a dent in your work.
Examples:
….. Bob, you’ve hardly made a dent in your dinner! There is a lot of rice left.
….. "You barely made a dent in that oatmeal — aren't you hungry
…..Help us put a dent in this pie.

make/put a dent in one's confidence/pride/enthusiasm уменьшить, поколебать (уверенность, энтузиазм, пр.)

Examples: …..The loss put a dent in the team's confidence.
…..I hated to put any dents in his enthusiasm, but I was trying to be realistic.
….. I'm not too disappointed since the test was free, and I don't really need the scores for any real purpose, but I have to say it did put a dent in my pride!

a dent (a reduction in amount or size, а significant, usually diminishing effect or impression; a weakening or lessening effect) — брешь, ...

….. It is a well-known psychologic fact that the people who become offended the easiest, have the lowest self-esteem. We are "hurt" by those things we conceive of as threats to our ego or self-esteem. Fancied emotional thrusts which go by unnoticed by the person with wholesome self-esteem slice these people up terribly. Even the real "digs" and "cuts" which inflict a terrible injury to the ego of the person with low self-esteem, do not make a dent in the ego of the person who thinks well of himself.

(by extension, informal)
A sudden negative change, such as loss, damage, weakening, consumption or diminution, especially one produced by an external force, event or action
That purchase put a bit of a dent in my wallet.

More example sentences
..... Also looking wistfully at the three library books I must return tomorrow; I've had them for six weeks, but have scarce made a dent in them, such is my perdition.
..... A signature-revocation effort by opponents made a dent in the final tally but was not enough to keep the initiative off the ballot.
..... But the wage demands of players in recent years have been such that these vast sums have barely made a dent in the economic problems of English football.

dent
A dent is a gouge or hollow that's left in a surface after some kind of blow. If you hit a soup pot with a hammer, it will leave a dent.
Car accidents, whether they're serious or just fender benders, often result in dents. If you fall off your bike, you may get a dent in your helmet, and a mishandled package might be delivered to your door full of dents.