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been to the wars

Show signs of rough treatment or injury, as in That car of yours looks as though it's been to the wars. This term dates from the late 1300s, when, however, it tended to be used literally. The figurative usage is more recent.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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