Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[breyk-doun] /ˈbreɪkˌdaʊn/
a breaking down, wearing out, or sudden loss of ability to function efficiently, as of a machine.
a loss of mental or physical health; collapse.
an analysis or classification of something; division into parts, categories, processes, etc.
  1. decomposition.
  2. analysis (def 6).
Electricity. an electric discharge passing through faulty insulation or other material used to separate circuits or passing between electrodes in a vacuum or gas-filled tube.
a noisy, lively folk dance.
Origin of breakdown
First recorded in 1825-35; noun use of verb phrase break down Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for breakdown
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Dying is that breakdown in an organism which throws it out of correspondence with some necessary part of the environment.

  • The downfall of nations and empires has been attributed to the breakdown of the family.

  • Fair results shown during first year, but a breakdown occurred during the second year, and cracking and scaling resulted.

    Paint Technology and Tests Henry A. Gardner
  • Eleven times did poor Pauline attack it and eleven times did she have a breakdown.

  • But the instant Arnold repairs the breakdown, your little experiment is over!

    We're Friends, Now Henry Hasse
Word Origin and History for breakdown

"a collapse," 1832, from break (v.) + down (adv.). The verbal phrase is attested from late 14c. The noun, specifically of machinery, is from 1838; meaning "an analysis in detail" is from 1936. Nervous breakdown is from 1905.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
breakdown in Medicine

breakdown break·down (brāk'doun')

  1. The act or process of failing to function or continue.

  2. A typically sudden collapse in physical or mental health.

  3. Disintegration or decomposition into parts or elements.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for breakdown

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for breakdown

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for breakdown