break

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1 break /ˈbreɪk/ verb
breaks; broke /ˈbroʊk/ ; broken /ˈbroʊkən/ ; breaking
1 break
/ˈbreɪk/
verb
breaks; broke /ˈbroʊk/ ; broken /ˈbroʊkən/ ; breaking
Learner's definition of BREAK
: to separate (something) into parts or pieces often in a sudden and forceful or violent way
[+ object]
[no object]
: to cause (a bone) to separate into two or more pieces
[+ object]
[no object]
[no object] : to open suddenly especially because of pressure from inside
see also break open (below)
[+ object] : to cause (something, such as a machine) to stop working by damaging it
[no object] : to stop working because of being damaged
see also break down (below)
: to split or divide (something) into smaller units or parts
[+ object]
[no object]
see also break into (below)
[+ object]
: to go through or make a hole in (a surface, someone's skin, etc.)
: to go through (something) by using force usually used figuratively
see also break down (below), break through (below)
: to cut into and turn over the surface of (the ground, soil, etc.) see also break ground at 1ground
[+ object] : to fail to do what is required by (a law, a promise, etc.)
: to destroy or defeat (something) by using force or pressure
[+ object]
[no object]
[+ object] : to defeat or ruin (someone) : to cause (someone) to fail or to stop trying or fighting
see also break down (below), make-or-break
[no object] : to lose your health, mental or physical strength, or control usually + under
see also break down (below)
[+ object] : to train (a wild animal) to behave in a way that is useful to people
[+ object]
: to cause the end of (something that is strong or that has continued for a long time)
: to cause (someone) to give up a habit + of
10 
[+ object]
: to interrupt (something)
see also break up 4 (below)
: to cause (something, such as a curse or spell) to no longer be effective
11 
[no object] : to stop an activity (such as working) for a brief period of time
12 
[+ object] : to tell (bad news) to someone in a kind or gentle way
[+ object] : to make (something, such as news) publicly known for the first time
[no object] of news : to become publicly known
13 
[+ object] : to reduce the speed or force of (something)
14 
[+ object]
: to be higher or more than (a specified number, measurement, etc.)
: to do better than (a record)
: to have a score that is lower than or higher than (a specified total)
15 
[+ object]
: to find or provide an explanation or solution for (something, such as a criminal case)
: to find the meaning of (a secret code)
16 
[no object]
of the weather : to change by becoming rainy, clear, cool, etc., after a long time
of clouds : to separate so that the sky or sun can be seen
of a storm : to start suddenly
17 
[no object] literary : to begin when the sun rises
see also daybreak
18 
[no object]
: to begin running quickly
: to stop fighting and run away
19 
[+ object]
: to give smaller bills or coins for (a large bill)
: to use (a large bill) to pay for something that costs much less than the value of the bill
20 
[no object] of a wave : to curl over and fall onto or near land
21 
[no object]
of someone's voice : to change sharply in tone or pitch because of strong emotion
of a boy's voice : to change from the high voice of a boy to the lower voice of a man
22 
[no object] sports, of a thrown or struck ball : to turn or curve
23 
tennis : to win against (an opponent who is serving)
[+ object]
[no object]
24 
[no object] : to happen or develop

break a leg

see 1leg

break a sweat

see 2sweat

break away

[phrasal verb]
: to get away from someone or something especially by using force or effort
usually + from
often used figuratively
: to separate or become separate from a larger group, country, etc.
usually + from
see also breakaway

break bread

see 1bread

break camp

see 1camp

break cover

see 2cover

break down

[phrasal verb]
of a machine : to stop working properly
see also 1break 4 (above)
: to fail or stop usually in a complete and sudden way
: to become overwhelmed by strong emotions
see also 1break 8c (above)
break down or break (someone) down or break down (someone) : to lose or cause (someone) to lose strength or the ability to resist or fight
see also 1break 8b (above)
break down or break (something) down or break down (something)
: to become separated or to separate (something) into simpler substances
: to be able to be divided or to divide (something) into parts or groups
break (something) down or break down (something) : to use force to push (something) to the ground sometimes used figuratively
see also breakdown

break even

: to take in as much money as you spend : to operate without either a loss or a profit
see also break-even

break faith with

see faith

break free

: to become able to move or escape by using force or effort : to get away from someone or something that holds or limits you often + from or of

break from

[phrasal verb]
break from (someone or something)
: to end a relationship, connection, or agreement with (someone or something)

break ground

see 1ground

break in

[phrasal verb]
: to enter a house, building, etc., illegally see also break into 1 (below), break-in
: to interrupt or disturb someone or something
see also break into 4 (below)
break in or break (someone) in or break in (someone) : to start or help (someone) to start a new activity, job, etc.
break (something) in or break in (something)
: to use (something, such as a new pair of shoes) for a period of time so that it becomes comfortable
: to operate (a new machine) carefully for a period of time until it is ready for regular use

break into

[phrasal verb]
break into (something)
: to enter (a house, building, etc.) illegally and especially by using force
see also break in 1 (above)
: to begin to do or have (something) suddenly
: to enter or get started in (something, such as a profession)
: to interrupt (something)
see also break in 2 (above)

break loose

: to suddenly become loose : to suddenly stop being attached to something
: to get away from someone or something by using force or effort
often + from
see also all hell breaks loose at hell

break new ground

see 1ground

break off

[phrasal verb]
break off or break off (something) or break (something) off or break (something) off (something) : to become separated or cause (something) to become separated because of force or violence
break off or break off (something) : to stop or end suddenly or cause (something) to stop or end suddenly

break open

[phrasal verb]
break open or break open (something) or break (something) open
: to open or to cause (something) to open suddenly
see also 1break 3 (above)

break out

[phrasal verb]
: to begin happening suddenly
: to suddenly begin to have sweat, a rash, etc., on your skin
: to appear on the skin suddenly
: to escape from a prison, jail, etc. often + of often used figuratively
break (something) out or break out (something) : to take (something) from the place where it is stored so that it can be used
see also breakout, outbreak

break rank

see 1rank

break someone's heart

see heart

break step

see 1step

break the back of

see 1back

break the bank

see 1bank

break the ice

see 1ice

break the mold

see 1mold

break through

[phrasal verb]
break through or break through (something)
: to use force to get through (something, such as a barrier)
sometimes used figuratively
see also 1break 6b (above)
of the sun : to shine through (clouds)

break up

[phrasal verb]
break up or break (something) up or break up (something)
: to separate into parts or pieces or cause (something) to separate into parts or pieces
: to end or cause (something) to end
break up : to end a romantic relationship, marriage, etc.
often + with
break up or break (someone) up US, informal : to begin laughing or cause (someone) to begin laughing suddenly and in a way that is difficult to control
break (something) up or break up (something)
: to change the regular quality or appearance of (something)
see also 1break 10 (above)
: to separate the parts of (something) so that it is not complete
break up British, of a school : to come to the end of a period of instruction (such as a term) see also breakup

break wind

see 1wind

break with

[phrasal verb]
break with (someone or something)
: to end a relationship, connection, or agreement with (someone or something)
2 break /ˈbreɪk/ noun
plural breaks
2 break
/ˈbreɪk/
noun
plural breaks
Learner's definition of BREAK
[count]
: a crack, hole, etc., that is caused by damage, injury, or pressure
: an opening or space in something : an opening that makes it possible for someone or something to enter or pass through something
[count] : something that causes a change or interruption
[count]
: a time when something stops
: a brief period of time during which someone stops an activity
especially : a brief period of time during which a worker is allowed to rest, eat, etc., instead of working
see also coffee break, lunch break
: a longer period of time when someone is not working or doing some other activity
: a time when many people are not working or going to school because of a holiday, vacation, etc.
see also spring break
[count] : a planned interruption in a radio or television program
see also station break
[singular] : a sudden fast run : dash
especially : a fast run by someone who is trying to escape
see also jailbreak
[count] : a situation or event that is lucky or unlucky
especially : a lucky situation or event that makes success possible
◊ Informal expressions like those are the breaks and that's the breaks mean that something bad or unlucky should be thought of or accepted as the kind of thing that often happens to people.
[count] : something that helps a particular person or group
[singular]
: a sudden ending of a relationship
: a change from what was done before usually + with or from
[noncount] literary used in the phrase break of day to refer to the time of morning when the sun can first be seen
10 
[count] : a sharp change in the tone or pitch of someone's voice
11 
[noncount] sports : a curve in the path of a thrown or hit ball
12 
[count] tennis : the act of defeating an opponent who is serving

give me a break

informal
used to tell someone to stop bothering you or treating you unfairly
used to say that you do not believe or are disgusted about what someone has said or done

give (someone) a break

: to stop treating (someone) in a strict or harsh way
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Comments & Questions
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