View synonyms for broken


[ broh-kuhn ]


  1. past participle of break none.


  1. reduced to fragments; fragmented.
  2. ruptured; torn; fractured.
  3. not functioning properly; out of working order.
  4. Meteorology. (of sky cover) being more than half, but not totally, covered by clouds. Compare scattered ( def 4 ).
  5. changing direction abruptly:

    The fox ran in a broken line.

  6. fragmentary or incomplete:

    a broken ton of coal weighing 1,500 pounds.

  7. infringed or violated:

    A broken promise is a betrayal of trust.

  8. interrupted, disrupted, or disconnected:

    After the phone call he returned to his broken sleep.

  9. weakened in strength, spirit, etc.:

    His broken health was due to alcoholism.

  10. tamed, trained, or reduced to submission:

    The horse was broken to the saddle.

  11. imperfectly spoken, as language:

    She still speaks broken English.

  12. spoken in a halting or fragmentary manner, as under emotional strain:

    He uttered a few broken words of sorrow.

    1. (of a relationship) split apart; not intact:

      a broken marriage.

    2. (of a family) disunited or divided by the prolonged or permanent absence of a parent, usually due to divorce or desertion: broken families.

      a child from a broken home;

      broken families.

  13. not smooth; rough or irregular:

    We left the plains and rode through broken country.

  14. ruined; bankrupt:

    the broken fortunes of his family.

  15. Papermaking, Printing. a quantity of paper of less than 500 or 1000 sheets.


/ ˈbrəʊkən /


  1. the past participle of break


  1. fractured, smashed, or splintered

    a broken vase

  2. imperfect or incomplete; fragmentary

    a broken set of books

  3. interrupted; disturbed; disconnected

    broken sleep

  4. intermittent or discontinuous

    broken sunshine

  5. varying in direction or intensity, as of pitch

    a broken run

    a broken note

  6. not functioning

    a broken radio

  7. spoilt or ruined by divorce (esp in the phrases broken home , broken marriage )
  8. (of a trust, promise, contract, etc) violated; infringed
  9. overcome with grief or disappointment

    a broken heart

  10. (of the speech of a foreigner) imperfect in grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation

    broken English

  11. Alsobroken-in made tame or disciplined by training

    a broken recruit

    a broken horse

  12. exhausted or weakened as through ill-health or misfortune
  13. confused or disorganized

    broken ranks of soldiers

  14. breached or opened

    broken defensive lines

  15. irregular or rough; uneven

    broken ground

  16. bankrupt or out of money

    a broken industry

  17. (of colour) having a multicoloured decorative effect, as by stippling paint onto a surface
  18. informal.

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Derived Forms

  • ˈbrokenly, adverb

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Other Words From

  • broken·ly adverb
  • broken·ness noun
  • half-broken adjective
  • well-broken adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of broken1

First recorded in 1350–1400, for the adjective

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Example Sentences

It’s no longer neat and clean, but rather it’s a mess of obsolete content, 404 errors, broken links, and other online debris.

The ichthyosaur’s fossilized body and head, while well preserved, are detached from one another, hinting that the animal may have died of a broken neck.

A week and a half into what has become the most widespread protests against the existing political order, you don’t see broken windows or burned-out cars.

From Ozy

Tweed traveled to the state capital Tallahassee for a drive-around rally to protest the broken system.

From Ozy

Performances have resulted in torn Achilles tendons and broken backs.

His first language was Russian, then he learned Swedish, but chooses to perform in monosyllabic broken English.

His surprise marriage to theater director Sophie Hunter may have broken hearts, but the squeals of delight were even louder.

A grand jury investigated but found Foster had broken no law.

How many husbands, wives, sons, and daughters have we lost to a broken system?

And besides, as a nation, we hold this truth to be self-evident:  resolutions are made to be broken.

In less than ten minutes, the bivouac was broken up, and our little army on the march.

On May 13 Polavieja arrived in Barcelona physically broken, half blind, and with evident traces of a disordered liver.

Do you want the marriage of your daughter with the rich and Honourable Harry broken?

Broken crocks should be strewn upon the tray, and on to this is heaped peaty soil mixed with sand.

But I am afraid you would very soon get tired of us, and I ought to tell you, frankly, that our little home is to be—a broken up.





brokeBroken Arrow