- (of a relationship) split apart; not intact: a broken marriage.
- (of a family) disunited or divided by the prolonged or permanent absence of a parent, usually due to divorce or desertion: a child from a broken home; broken families.
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 brokeninjured, damaged, defective, crippled, smashed, cracked, shattered, fragmented, mangled, crushed, busted, fractured, demolished, severed, beaten, wrecked, faulty, ruined, separated, burst
Examples from the Web for broken
Contemporary Examples of broken
His surprise marriage to theater director Sophie Hunter may have broken hearts, but the squeals of delight were even louder.All Your Internet Boyfriends Are Taken: Gosling, Cumberbatch, and now Joseph Gordon-Levitt
January 3, 2015
A grand jury investigated but found Foster had broken no law.The Louisiana Racists Who Courted Steve Scalise
January 3, 2015
How many husbands, wives, sons, and daughters have we lost to a broken system?Dear Leelah, We Will Fight On For You: A Letter to a Dead Trans Teen
January 1, 2015
And besides, as a nation, we hold this truth to be self-evident: resolutions are made to be broken.Forget the Resolutions; Try a Few Declarations
January 1, 2015
Instead of lights and gifts, this one is filled with broken promises and guilt.Why Your New Year’s Diet Will Fail
December 30, 2014
Historical Examples of broken
This time he did not desist until he had broken through the panel.Brave and Bold
The narrative was broken off short by a cry of jubilee in the court.The Armourer's Prentices
Charlotte M. Yonge
To the east, plains for at least thirty miles, when broken ranges were visible.
Found the barometer had got broken, which I was very sorry for.
How lucky I did not write to my father that I had broken matters off.
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
late 14c., past participle adjective from break (v.). Broken record in reference to someone continually repeating the same thing is from 1944, in reference to scratches on records that cause the needle to jump back and repeat.
When Britain's Minister of State, Selwyn Lloyd[,] became bored with a speech by Russia's Andrei Vishinsky in UN debate, he borrowed a Dizzy Gillespie bebop expression and commented: "Dig that broken record." While most translators pondered the meaning, a man who takes English and puts it into Chinese gave this translation: "Recover the phonograph record which you have discarded." ["Jet," Oct. 15, 1953]
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.