gum up the works

idiom

informal
: to prevent something from working or flowing properly
Some dirt got inside the gears and gummed up the works.
The new regulations have really gummed up the works in the office.

Examples of gum up the works in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web So presidents can carry out policy, or gum up the works, without much there to stop them unless the other branches act collectively. Julia Azari, ABC News, 12 Dec. 2023 As for more accountability, as some skeptical Republicans demand, whatever measures add to our understanding of where money is going are useful; purely pretextual demands meant to gum up the works aren’t. The Editors, National Review, 6 Dec. 2023 But because of the power that Congress still holds over the District’s budget, any congressman can gum up the works by withholding funding needed to implement a new law. Courtland Milloy, Washington Post, 22 Aug. 2023 The supply chain Grinch may still gum up the works. Washington Post, 24 Nov. 2021 House rules are generally party-line votes (the rule for the debt ceiling bill was a rare exception), meaning that with such a narrow GOP majority, a few recalcitrant Republicans could gum up the works. Grace Segers, The New Republic, 6 June 2023 But environmentalist allies have a loud voice and attorneys eager to file lawsuits that can gum up the works. George Skelton, Los Angeles Times, 15 Aug. 2022 Given the narrow Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, nearly any member has the power to gum up the works. Grace Segers, The New Republic, 22 Sep. 2021 Republicans at the Statehouse, though, have proposed legislation the past two years that would gum up the works. Ryan Martin, The Indianapolis Star, 29 Mar. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'gum up the works.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Dictionary Entries Near gum up the works

Cite this Entry

“Gum up the works.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gum%20up%20the%20works. Accessed 19 Jun. 2024.

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