[broh-kuh n]


past participle of break.


Related formsbro·ken·ly, adverbbro·ken·ness, nounhalf-bro·ken, adjectivewell-bro·ken, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for half-broken

Historical Examples of half-broken

  • You buy a lot of half-broken, bucking, balky teams because you can get 'em cheap.

    A California Girl

    Edward Eldridge

  • When I tried to get up at the half-broken place, I was overwhelmed by a shower of sand.

    At Plattsburg

    Allen French

  • The line was singularly definite; there were no half-broken trees.

  • They come, too, with far less cunning than the half-broken gentry.

    Rural Rides

    William Cobbett

  • Just in front, above, were old, half-broken houses of stone.

    Sea and Sardinia

    D. H. Lawrence

British Dictionary definitions for half-broken



the past participle of break


fractured, smashed, or splintereda broken vase
imperfect or incomplete; fragmentarya broken set of books
interrupted; disturbed; disconnectedbroken sleep
intermittent or discontinuousbroken sunshine
varying in direction or intensity, as of pitcha broken note; a broken run
not functioninga broken radio
spoilt or ruined by divorce (esp in the phrases broken home, broken marriage)
(of a trust, promise, contract, etc) violated; infringed
overcome with grief or disappointmenta broken heart
(of the speech of a foreigner) imperfect in grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciationbroken English
Also: broken-in made tame or disciplined by traininga broken horse; a broken recruit
exhausted or weakened as through ill-health or misfortune
confused or disorganizedbroken ranks of soldiers
breached or openedbroken defensive lines
irregular or rough; unevenbroken ground
bankrupt or out of moneya broken industry
(of colour) having a multicoloured decorative effect, as by stippling paint onto a surface
Southern African informal drunk
Derived Formsbrokenly, adverb
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 half-broken



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]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper