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.
- 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
Synonyms for break
Antonyms for break
Related Words for break downindoctrinate, instill, impart, inculcate, imbue, flop, fizzle, backfire, disintegrate, crumble, wither, cease, disappear, vanish, rot, succumb, obliterate, topple, demolish, overthrow
- stop it
- don't expect me to believe that; come off it
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
- Christianityto 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
- jazza 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.
Demolish, destroy, either physically or figuratively, as in The carpenters broke down the partition between the bedrooms, or The governor's speeches broke down the teachers' opposition to school reform. [Late 1300s]
Separate into constituent parts, analyze. For example, I insisted that they break down the bill into the separate charges for parts and labor, or The chemist was trying to break down the compound's molecules. [Mid-1800s]
Stop functioning, cease to be effective or operable, as in The old dishwasher finally broke down. [Mid-1800s]
Become distressed or upset; also, have a physical or mental collapse, as in The funeral was too much for her and she broke down in tears, or After seeing all his work come to nothing, he broke down and had to be treated by a psychiatrist. [Late 1800s]
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.