verb (used with object), broke or (Archaic) brake; bro·ken or (Archaic) broke; break·ing.
- to open or force one's way into (a dwelling, store, etc.).
- to contest (a will) successfully by judicial action.
- to release (a story) for publication or airing on radio or television: They will break the story tomorrow.
- to continue (a story or article) on another page, especially when the page is not the following one.
- (of a pitcher, bowler, etc.) to hurl (a ball) in such a way as to cause it to change direction after leaving the hand: He broke a curve over the plate for a strike.
- (in tennis and other racket games) to score frequently or win against (an opponent's serve).
verb (used without object), broke or (Archaic) brake; bro·ken or (Archaic) broke; break·ing.
- an opportunity or stroke of fortune, especially a lucky one.
- a chance to improve one's lot, especially one unlooked for or undeserved.
- one or more blank lines between two paragraphs.
- breaks. suspension points.
- to leave or escape, especially suddenly or hurriedly.
- to sever connections or allegiance, as to tradition or a political group.
- to start prematurely: The horse broke away from the starting gate.
- to become ineffective.
- to lose control; weaken: He broke down and wept at the sad news.
- to have a physical or mental collapse.
- to cease to function: The car broke down.
- to itemize: to break down a hotel bill into daily charges.
- Chemistry. to separate (a compound) into its constituent molecules.
- Electricity. (of an insulator) to fail, as when subjected to excessively high voltage, permitting a current to pass.
- to decompose.
- to analyze.
- to classify.
- to separate into constituent parts: to break down a beef carcass into basic cuts.
- to enter by force or craft: Someone broke in and made off with all the furniture.
- to train or instruct; initiate: The boss is breaking in a new assistant.
- to begin to wear or use in order to make comfortable: These shoes haven't been broken in.
- to interrupt: He broke in with a ridiculous objection.
- to run (new machinery) initially under reduced load and speed, until any stiffness of motion has departed and all parts are ready to operate under normal service conditions; run in; wear in.
- to interpose; interrupt: He broke into the conversation at a crucial moment.
- to begin some activity.
- to be admitted into; enter, as a business or profession: It is difficult to break into the theater.
- to enter by force: They broke into the store and stole the safe.
- to sever by breaking.
- to stop suddenly; discontinue: to break off a conversation; to break off relations with one's neighbors.
- to begin abruptly; arise: An epidemic broke out.
- Pathology. (of certain diseases) to appear in eruptions.
- (of a person) to manifest a skin eruption.
- to prepare for use: to break out the parachutes.
- to take out of (storage, concealment, etc.) for consumption: to break out one's best wine.
- Nautical. to dislodge (the anchor) from the bottom.
- to escape; flee: He spent three years in prison before he broke out.
- to separate into categories or list specific items: to break out gift ideas according to price range; The report breaks out quarterly profits and losses.
- to separate; scatter.
- to put an end to; discontinue.
- to divide or become divided into pieces.
- to dissolve.
- to disrupt; upset: Television commercials during a dramatic presentation break up the continuity of effect.
- (of a personal relationship) to end: to break up a friendship; Their marriage broke up last year.
- to end a personal relationship: Bob and Mary broke up last month.
- to be or cause to be overcome with laughter: The comedian told several jokes that broke up the audience.
- to sever relations with; separate from: to break with one's family.
- to depart from; repudiate: to break with tradition.
- break a leg,
- break and entry,
- break away,
- break bread,
- break camp
- to begin construction, especially of a building or group of buildings: to break ground for a new housing development.
- Nautical. to free an anchor from the bottom; break out.
- stop it; calm down.
- (used as an exclamation of disbelief) that can't be true!
Origin of break
Examples from the Web for break
This is the Mexico that U.S. college students would be wise to steer clear of on spring break.Why Mexicans Are Enraged by Obama’s Big Tuesday Meeting|Ruben Navarrette Jr.|January 6, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Google itself has taken a break and put plans for mass production on hold.You Were Wrong About Miley & Bitcoin: 2014’s Failed Predictions|Nina Strochlic|December 31, 2014|DAILY BEAST
She had to break the news to William that The Sun had the story.Pulled Documentary Says William Felt ‘Used’ by Charles’ Push for Camilla|Tom Sykes|December 30, 2014|DAILY BEAST
It was the year that Kim Kardashian attempted to break the Internet with hers.Year of the Butt: How the Booty Changed the World in 2014|Kevin Fallon|December 30, 2014|DAILY BEAST
A step-by-step plan to break from your various technology addictions.
Why should it break its pretty painted wings in trying to soar above the sunshine of the hour?Miss Hildreth, Volume 1 of 3|Augusta de Grasse Stevens
After he is elected mayor he may break his pledges to these organizations, but as soon as he does he's through.Spring Street|James H. Richardson
In conservative Cyprus there was not that break with the past which occurred in other portions of the Greek world.
Still, he did not break off all relations with him; he visited him now and then, though rarely, it is true.The Rebel Chief|Gustave Aimard
Otter-heart now wished that the other axe might break, and again his desire was fulfilled.The Myths of the North American Indians|Lewis Spence
verb breaks, breaking, broke or broken
- to burst into song, laughter, etc
- to change to a faster pace
- (often foll by against) to strike violently
- to collapse into foam or surf
- (of the male voice) to undergo a change in register, quality, and range at puberty
- (of the voice or some instruments) to undergo a change in tone, quality, etc, when changing registers
- to eat a meal, esp with others
- Christianity to administer or participate in Holy Communion
- to relieve shyness or reserve, esp between strangers
- to be the first of a group to do something
- a series of successful shots during one turn
- the points scored in such a series
- the opening shot with the cue ball that scatters the placed balls
- the right to take this first shot
- jazz a short usually improvised solo passage
- an instrumental passage in a pop song
Word Origin for break
Old English brecan "to break, shatter, burst; injure, violate, destroy, curtail; break into, rush into; burst forth, spring out; subdue, tame" (class IV strong verb; past tense bræc, past participle brocen), from Proto-Germanic *brekan (cf. Old Frisian breka, Dutch breken, Old High German brehhan, German brechen, Gothic brikan), from PIE root *bhreg- "to break" (see fraction). Most modern senses were in Old English. In reference to the heart from early 13c. Meaning "to disclose" is from early 13c.
Break bread "share food" (with) is from late 14c. Break the ice is c.1600, in reference to the "coldness" of encounters of strangers. Break wind first attested 1550s. To break (something) out (1890s) probably is an image from dock work, of freeing cargo before unloading it. Ironic theatrical good luck formula break a leg has parallels in German Hals- und Beinbruch "break your neck and leg," and Italian in bocca al lupo. Evidence of a highly superstitious craft (cf. Macbeth).
c.1300, "act of breaking," from break (v.). Sense of "short interval between spells of work" (originally between lessons at school) is from 1861. Meaning "stroke of luck" is attested by 1911, probably an image from billiards (where the break that starts the game is attested from 1865). Meaning "stroke of mercy" is from 1914. Musical sense, "improvised passage, solo" is attested from 1920s in jazz.
In addition to the idioms beginning with break
- break a leg
- break away
- break bread
- break camp
- break cover
- break down
- break even
- break ground
- break in
- break into
- break it up
- break loose
- break of day
- break off
- break one
- break one's ass
- break one's back
- break one's balls
- break one's fall
- break one's neck
- break one's word
- break out
- break out of
- break ranks
- break someone
- break someone of something
- break someone's heart
- break someone's serve
- break someone up
- break the back of
- break the bank
- break the ice
- break the news
- break the record
- break through
- break up
- break wind
- break with
- get a break
- give someone a break
- make a break for it
- make or break
- never give a sucker an even break
- take a break
- tough break
Also see underbroke.