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[hous-breyk] /ˈhaʊsˌbreɪk/
verb (used with object), housebroke, housebroken, housebreaking.
to train (a pet) to excrete outdoors or in a specific place.
Origin of housebreak
First recorded in 1895-1900; house + break Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for housebreaking
Historical Examples
  • "housebreaking is entirely out of my province," Tranter objected.

    The Crooked House

    Brandon Fleming
  • If I don't see you after we've bagged him I'd better charge him with housebreaking, I suppose?

    The Grell Mystery Frank Froest
  • He cannot enter, of course, or we could arrest him on a charge of housebreaking!

  • It was probably overtime at housebreaking that had told on him.

    Dwellers in Arcady

    Albert Bigelow Paine
  • Yes; he has just been sent to the Maryland penitentiary for housebreaking.

    Try Again

    Oliver Optic
  • A soldier in the reserve was accused of theft and housebreaking.

  • It's of little help—a little help perhaps—in housebreaking and so forth.

    The Invisible Man H. G. Wells
  • I reckon the next move is up to you, for I'm no good at the housebreaking stunt.'

    Greenmantle John Buchan
  • housebreaking is a very different business from the forcible entry of country post-offices, and The Hopper was nervous.

    A Reversible Santa Claus Meredith Nicholson
  • In their trunks he found a great variety of housebreaking implements, of the most ingenious construction.

British Dictionary definitions for housebreaking


(criminal law) the act of entering a building as a trespasser for an unlawful purpose. Assimilated with burglary, 1968
Derived Forms
housebreaker, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for housebreaking



1820, "to break into a house criminally;" see house (n.) + break (v.). Perhaps a back-formation from housebreaker, attested from mid-14c. Sense of "to train a domestic animal to be clean in the house" is from 1881. Related: Housebreaking; housebroken.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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