verb (used with object), house·broke, house·bro·ken, house·break·ing.

to train (a pet) to excrete outdoors or in a specific place.

Origin of housebreak

First recorded in 1895–1900; house + break Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for housebreaking

Historical Examples of housebreaking

  • "Housebreaking is entirely out of my province," Tranter objected.

    The Crooked House

    Brandon Fleming

  • If I don't see you after we've bagged him I'd better charge him with housebreaking, I suppose?

    The Grell Mystery

    Frank Froest

  • He cannot enter, of course, or we could arrest him on a charge of housebreaking!

  • It was probably overtime at housebreaking that had told on him.

    Dwellers in Arcady

    Albert Bigelow Paine

  • Yes; he has just been sent to the Maryland penitentiary for housebreaking.

    Try Again

    Oliver Optic

British Dictionary definitions for housebreaking



criminal law the act of entering a building as a trespasser for an unlawful purpose. Assimilated with burglary, 1968
Derived Formshousebreaker, noun
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 housebreaking



1820, "to break into a house criminally;" see house (n.) + break (v.). Perhaps a back-formation from housebreaker, attested from mid-14c. Sense of "to train a domestic animal to be clean in the house" is from 1881. Related: Housebreaking; housebroken.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper