Where Did the Expression “Through the Mill” Come From and What Does the Saying Mean?

The expression “through the mill” has nothing to do with a grist or paper mill.

It came from legal circles, and in the commercial world it means to have been through bankruptcy.

The phrase comes from the original English court, where petitions for discharge of debt due to insolvency were first heard. This special court was called the Mill.

To have been through the mill now means to have gone through any hard time, including bankruptcy.