View synonyms for broke


[ brohk ]


  1. a simple past tense of break.
  2. Nonstandard. a past participle of break.
  3. Archaic. a past participle of break.


  1. without money; penniless.

    Synonyms: impoverished, destitute, insolvent

  2. Synonyms: impoverished, destitute, insolvent


  1. Papermaking. paper unfit for sale; paper that is to be repulped.
  2. brokes, wool of poor quality taken from the neck and belly of sheep.


/ brəʊk /


  1. the past tense of break


  1. informal.
    having no money; bankrupt
  2. go for broke slang.
    to risk everything in a gambling or other venture

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Word History and Origins

Origin of broke1

First recorded in 1655–65 for the adjective; 1875–80 for the noun

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. go broke,
    1. to become destitute of money or possessions.
    2. to go bankrupt:

      In that business people are forever going broke.

  2. go for broke, to exert oneself or employ one's resources to the utmost.

More idioms and phrases containing broke

see flat broke ; go broke ; go for (broke) ; if it ain't broke don't fix it . Also see under break .

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Example Sentences

The go-for-broke bidding underscores how crucial these midband frequencies are to companies trying to seize global leadership in emerging 5G technology.

From Fortune

See, no one has ever gone broke selling stuff to women who have been convinced that there’s something wrong with them.

From Ozy

Then he moved to New York, worked as a business analyst, went broke.

You could lose everything, including that solid business, and end up broke and living in a culvert beneath a freeway.

From Ozy

Irma, after all, broke weather records for how powerful and sustained it was.

The gunman hardly broke stride as he nonetheless shot Merabet in the head, killing him.

“We broke off shortly after because we were more ambitious,” says Lean.

Riots broke out in 1994, after Iranian authorities replaced a Sunni mosque in Mashad with a development project.

The two sides taunted and insulted each other but with police separating them no violence broke out.

In October, news broke that Regal hired Morgan Stanley to explore a possible sale.

The volcanic eruptions of the mountains on the west broke down its barriers, and let its waters flow.

The great plague of this and the subsequent year broke out at St. Giles, London.

The Senora Moreno's heart broke within her, when those words passed her lips to her adored Felipe.

A sob rose in her throat, and broke from her lips transformed into a trembling, sharp, glad cry.

Walls End Castle, when the party broke up, returned to its normal state.


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Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.