break-even

or break·e·ven

[ breyk-ee-vuh n ]
/ ˈbreɪkˈi vən /

adjective

having income exactly equal to expenditure, thus showing neither profit nor loss.

noun

Energy. the stage at which a fission or fusion reaction becomes self-sustaining.

Origin of break-even

An Americanism dating back to 1935–40

Definition for break even (2 of 3)

Origin of break

before 900; Middle English breken, Old English brecan; cognate with Dutch breken, German brechen, Gothic brikan; akin to Latin frangere; see fragile

Related forms

Can be confused

brake break

Synonym study

1. Break, crush, shatter, smash mean to reduce to parts, violently or by force. Break means to divide by means of a blow, a collision, a pull, or the like: to break a chair, a leg, a strap. To crush is to subject to (usually heavy or violent) pressure so as to press out of shape or reduce to shapelessness or to small particles: to crush a beetle. To shatter is to break in such a way as to cause the pieces to fly in many directions: to shatter a light globe. To smash is to break noisily and suddenly into many pieces: to smash a glass.

Definition for break even (3 of 3)

Origin of even

1
before 900; (adj.) Middle English; Old English efen; cognate with Gothic ibns, Old High German eban, Old Norse jafn even, equal; (adv.) Middle English even(e), Old English efne, derivative of the adj.; (v.) Middle English evenen, Old English efnan to lower, derivative of the adj.

SYNONYMS FOR even

1 plane. See level.
12 tranquil, temperate, composed, peaceful.
13 just.

Related forms

e·ven·er, noune·ven·ly, adverbe·ven·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for break even (1 of 4)

break even


verb

(intr, adverb) to attain a level of activity, as in commerce, or a point of operation, as in gambling, at which there is neither profit nor loss

noun breakeven

accounting
  1. the level of commercial activity at which the total cost and total revenue of a business enterprise are equal
  2. (as modifier)breakeven prices

British Dictionary definitions for break even (2 of 4)

break

/ (breɪk) /

verb breaks, breaking, broke or broken

noun

interjection

boxing wrestling a command by a referee for two opponents to separate

Word Origin for break

Old English brecan; related to Old Frisian breka, Gothic brikan, Old High German brehhan, Latin frangere Sanskrit bhráj bursting forth

British Dictionary definitions for break even (3 of 4)

even

1
/ (ˈiːvən) /

adjective

adverb

verb

to make or become even

Derived Forms

evener, nounevenly, adverbevenness, noun

Word Origin for even

Old English efen; related to Old Norse jafn even, equal, Gothic ibns, Old High German eban

British Dictionary definitions for break even (4 of 4)

even

2
/ (ˈiːvən) /

noun

an archaic word for eve, evening

Word Origin for even

Old English ǣfen; related to Old Frisian ēvend, Old High German āband
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

Science definitions for break even

even

[ ēvən ]

Divisible by 2 with a remainder of 0, such as 12 or 876.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with break even (1 of 3)

break even


Neither gain nor lose in some venture, recoup the amount one invested. For example, If the dealer sells five cars a week, he'll break even. This expression probably came from one or another card game (some authorities say it was faro), where it meant to bet that a card would win and lose an equal number of times. It soon was transferred to balancing business gains and losses. Novelist Sinclair Lewis so used it in Our Mr. Wrenn (1914). The usage gave rise to the noun break-even point, for the amount of sales or production needed for a firm to recoup its investment. [Late 1800s]

Idioms and Phrases with break even (2 of 3)

break


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

also see:

  • 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.

Idioms and Phrases with break even (3 of 3)

even


In addition to the idioms beginning with even

  • even money
  • even so

also see:

  • break even
  • never give a sucker an even break
  • on an even keel
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.