an agent who buys or sells for a principal on a commission basis without having title to the property.
a person who functions as an intermediary between two or more parties in negotiating agreements, bargains, or the like.

verb (used with object)

to act as a broker for: to broker the sale of a house.

verb (used without object)

to act as a broker.

Origin of broker

1350–1400; Middle English broco(u)r < Anglo-French broco(u)r, abrocour middleman, wine merchant; compare Old Provençal abrocador, perhaps based on Spanish alboroque gift or drink concluding a transaction (< Arabic al-burūk the gift, gratuity), with -ador < Latin -ātōr- -ator
Related formsbro·ker·ship, nounsub·bro·ker, noun




a simple past tense of break.
Nonstandard. a past participle of break.
Archaic. a past participle of break.


without money; penniless.


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

Origin of broke

1655–65 (adj.); 1875–80 (noun)

Synonyms for broke Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for broker

Contemporary Examples of broker

Historical Examples of broker

  • There's a broker I've known down-town—fellow by the name of Relpin.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • You'll have the broker in, and be turned out; that's what'll happen to you.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • His broker called for more margin; he could not respond and was sold out.

  • Your contract is as good only as the reliability of your broker.

  • Of this amount he had in his possession—in his broker's possession, that is—but two of the eighths.

    The Rise of Roscoe Paine

    Joseph C. Lincoln

British Dictionary definitions for broker



an agent who, acting on behalf of a principal, buys or sells goods, securities, etc, in return for a commissioninsurance broker
(formerly) short for stockbroker
a dealer in second-hand goods


to act as a broker (in)

Word Origin for broker

C14: from Anglo-French brocour broacher (of casks, hence, one who sells, agent), from Old Northern French broquier to tap a cask, from broque tap of a cask; see broach 1



the past tense of break


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

Word Origin and History for broker

late 14c., from Anglo-French brocour "small trader," from abrokur "retailer of wine, tapster;" perhaps from Portuguese alborcar "barter," but more likely from Old French brocheor, from brochier "to broach, tap, pierce (a keg)," from broche "pointed tool" (see broach (n.)), giving original sense of "wine dealer," hence "retailer, middleman, agent." In Middle English, used contemptuously of peddlers and pimps.


1630s (implied in brokering), from broker (n.). Related: Brokered.



past tense and obsolete past participle of break (v.); extension to "insolvent" is first recorded 1716 (broken in this sense is attested from 1590s). Old English cognate broc meant, in addition to "that which breaks," "affliction, misery."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

broker in Culture


A financial agent or intermediary; a middleman.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with broker


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

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