make a dent in

make a dent in  {v. phr.},  {informal}
To make less by a very small amount; reduce slightly. — Usually used in the negative or with such qualifying words as "hardly" or "barely".
John shoveled and shoveled, but he didn't seem to make a dent in the pile of sand.
Mary studied all afternoon and only made a dent in her homework.
Categories: informal verb

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