- The definition of a break is a period of separation or a split, gap or fracture.
- An example of break is the decision by a couple to take some time away from one another.
- An example of break is a crack in the sidewalk.
- Break means to smash, split or fracture or to not abide by rules or laws.
- An example of break is to throw a glass to the ground and have it shatter into pieces.
- An example of break is to disregard the Ten Commandments.
A glass has fallen to the ground causing it to break.Licensed from iStockPhoto
- to cause to come apart by force; split or crack sharply into pieces; smash; burst
- to cut open the surface of (soil, the skin, etc.)
- to fracture a bone of
- to cause the failure of by force or extralegal measures: to break a strike
- to make unusable or inoperative by cracking, disrupting, etc.
- to tame or make obedient with or as with force
- to cause to get rid (of a habit)
- to get rid of (a habit)
- to lower in rank or grade; demote
- to reduce to poverty or bankruptcy
- to ruin the chance for success of
- to wreck the health, spirit, etc. of
- to surpass (a record)
- to fail to follow the terms of (a law, promise, agreement, etc.); violate
- to open or enter by force: now chiefly in
- to escape from by force: to break prison
- to disrupt the order or completeness of; make irregular: the troops broke formation and ran
- to interrupt (a journey, electric circuit, etc.)
- to reduce the force of by interrupting (a fall, the wind, etc.)
- to bring to a sudden end: to break a tie
- to make or create (a path, way, etc.) as by removing obstructions
- to cut through or penetrate (silence, darkness, etc.)
- to make known; tell; disclose
- to decipher: to break a code
- to succeed in solving: to break a criminal case
- to make (a will) invalid by legal process
- to prove (an alibi) to be false
- to begin; open; start
- to exchange (a bill or coin) for smaller units
- to open (a rifle or shotgun) at the breech
- Tennis to win a game from (an opponent who is serving)
Origin: Middle English breken ; from Old English brecan ; from Indo-European base an unverified form bhreg- from source breach, breech, German brechen, Classical Latin frangere
- to split into pieces; come apart; burst
- to scatter; disperse: to break and run
- to force one's way (through obstacles or resistance)
- to quarrel; stop associating (with)
- to become unusable or inoperative; go out of order
- to suffer a sudden fall in prices, financial condition, etc.
- to change suddenly, as by a sharp rise, fall, turn, shift, etc.: his voice broke; the hot spell broke
- to move away suddenly: the base runner broke for second
- to move apart, or withdraw, from a clinch in boxing
- ☆ to move into a gait other than the trot or pace required: said of a horse in harness racing
- to begin suddenly to utter, perform, etc.: with into, forth in, or out in: to break into song
- to come suddenly into being, evidence, or general knowledge: day was breaking; the story broke
- to appear suddenly above water, as a periscope, fish, etc.
- ☆ to stop activity temporarily: we broke for lunch
- to fall apart slowly; disintegrate
- to dash apart, as a wave on the shore
- to suffer a collapse of health, vitality, spirit, etc.
- to change into a diphthong: said of vowels
- ☆ to curve, dip, or rise near the plate: said of a pitched baseball
- ☆ to begin a game of pocket billiards with a break ()
- Informal to happen in a certain way: things were breaking badly
- a breaking open or apart; breach; fracture
- a breaking in, out, or forth
- ☆ a sudden move away or toward; rush; dash
- the result of a breaking; broken place; separation; crack
- a beginning or appearance: the break of day
- an interruption of a regular or continuous arrangement, action, etc.
- the result of this; a gap, interval, pause, omission, rest, etc.
- a breach in friendly relations
- a sudden change, as in weather
- ☆ an escape, as from prison
- ☆ a sudden lowering or drop, as of prices
- an imperfection; flaw
- an unbroken series or sequence, as of points in billiards
- ☆ the opening shot in a game of pocket billiards, in which the cue ball must come into contact with at least one ball in the rack; often, a shot that scatters the racked balls
- ☆ Basketball fast break
- a piece of luck, often specif. of good luck
- an advantage or opportunity
- exceptional or favorable treatment
- the point where one register changes to another
- the abrupt change in quality of a voice or instrument at this point
- in jazz, a brief, usually improvised passage by one band member who continues to play while the others stop
- a space between paragraphs
- the place at which a column or page of text stops, to be continued as on another column or page
- a point at which a word is divided, as at the end of a line
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
verb broke broke , bro·ken , break·ing, breaks verb, transitive
- To cause to separate into pieces suddenly or violently; smash.
- a. To divide into pieces, as by bending or cutting: break crackers for a baby.b. To separate into components or parts: broke the work into discrete tasks.
- To snap off or detach: broke a twig from the tree.
- a. To fracture a bone of: I broke my leg.b. To fracture (a bone): I broke my femur.
- To crack without separating into pieces.
- a. To destroy the completeness of (a group of related items): broke the set of books by giving some away.b. To exchange for smaller monetary units: break a dollar.
- To vary or disrupt the uniformity or continuity of: a plain that was broken by low hills; caught the ball without breaking stride.
- Electricity To render (a circuit) inoperative by disruption; open.
- a. To force or make a way through; puncture or penetrate: The blade barely broke the skin.b. To part or pierce the surface of: a dolphin breaking water.
- To produce (a sweat) copiously on the skin, as from exercise.
- To force one's way out of; escape from: break jail.
- To make or bring about by cutting or forcing: break a trail through the woods.
- a. To find an opening or flaw in: They couldn't break my alibi.b. To find the solution or key to; uncover the basic elements and arrangement of: break a code; break a spy ring.
- To make known, as news: break a story.
- To surpass or outdo: broke the league's home-run record.
- To overcome or put an end to, especially by force or strong opposition: break a deadlock in negotiations; break a strike.
- Sports To win a game on (an opponent's service), as in tennis.
- To lessen the force or effect of: break a fall.
- To render useless or inoperative: We accidentally broke the radio.
- To weaken or destroy, as in spirit or health; overwhelm with adversity: “For a hero loves the world till it breaks him” (William Butler Yeats).
- 21. To cause the ruin or failure of (an enterprise, for example): Indiscretion broke both marriage and career.
- 22. To reduce in rank; demote.
- 23. To cause to be without money or to go into bankruptcy.
- 24. To fail to fulfill; cancel: break an engagement.
- 25. To fail to conform to; violate: break the speed limit.
- 26. Law To invalidate (a will) by judicial action.
- 27. a. To give up (a habit).b. To cause to give up a habit: They managed to break themselves of smoking.
- 28. To train to obey; tame: The horse was difficult to break.
- To become separated into pieces or fragments.
- To become cracked or split.
- To become fractured: His arm broke from the fall.
- To become unusable or inoperative: The television broke.
- To give way; collapse: The scaffolding broke during the storm.
- To burst: The blister broke.
- a. To intrude: They broke in upon our conversation.b. To filter in or penetrate: Sunlight broke into the room.
- To scatter or disperse; part: The clouds broke after the storm.
- Games To make the opening shot that scatters the grouped balls in billiards or pool.
- Sports To separate from a clinch in boxing.
- Sports To win a game on the opponent's service, as in tennis: broke twice in the first set.
- To move away or escape suddenly: broke from his grip and ran off.
- To come forth or begin from a state of latency; come into being or emerge: A storm was breaking over Miami. Crocuses broke from the soil.
- To emerge above the surface of water.
- To become known or noticed: The big story broke on Friday.
- To change direction or move suddenly: The quarterback broke to the left to avoid a tackler.
- Baseball To curve near or over the plate: The pitch broke away from the batter.
- To change suddenly from one tone quality or musical register to another: His voice broke into a falsetto.
- Linguistics To undergo breaking.
- To change to a gait different from the one set. Used of a horse.
- 21. To interrupt or cease an activity: We'll break for coffee at ten.
- 22. To discontinue an association, an agreement, or a relationship: The partners broke over a financial matter. One hates to break with an old friend.
- 23. To diminish or discontinue abruptly: The fever is breaking.
- 24. To diminish in or lose physical or spiritual strength; weaken or succumb: Their good cheer broke after repeated setbacks.
- 25. To decrease sharply in value or quantity: Stock prices broke when the firm suddenly announced layoffs.
- 26. To come to an end: The cold spell broke yesterday.
- 27. To collapse or crash into surf or spray: waves that were breaking along the shore.
- 28. Informal To take place or happen; proceed: Things have been breaking well for them.
- 29. To engage in breaking; break dance.
- The act or an occurrence of breaking.
- The result of breaking, as a crack, separation, or opening: a break in the clouds.
- The beginning or emergence of something: the break of day
- A sudden movement; a dash: The dog made a break toward the open field.
- An escape: a prison break.
- An interruption or a disruption in continuity or regularity: television programming without commercial breaks.
- A pause or interval, as from work: a coffee break.
- A sudden or marked change: a break in the weather.
- A violation: a security break.
- An often sudden piece of luck, especially good luck: finally got the big break in life.
- Informal a. An allowance or indulgence; accommodating treatment: The boss gave me a break because I'd been sick.b. A favorable price or reduction: a tax break for charitable contributions.
- A severing of ties: made a break with the past; a break between the two families.
- Informal A faux pas.
- A sudden decline in prices.
- A caesura.
- Printing a. The space between two paragraphs.b. A series of three dots ( . . . ) used to indicate an omission in a text.c. The place where a word is or should be divided at the end of a line.
- Electricity Interruption of a flow of current.
- Geology A marked change in topography such as a fault or deep valley.
- Nautical The point of discontinuity between two levels on the deck of a ship.
- Music a. The point at which one register or tonal quality changes to another.b. The change itself.c. A solo jazz cadenza that is played during the pause between the regular phrases or choruses of a melody or that serves as an introduction to a more extended solo.
- 21. A change in a horse's gait to one different from that set by the rider.
- 22. Sports The swerving of a ball from a straight path of flight, as in baseball or cricket.
- 23. Sports The beginning of a race.
- 24. Sports a. A fast break.b. A rush toward the goal, as in hockey, by offense players in control of the puck or ball, often against fewer defenders: a three-on-one break.c. The separation after a clinch in boxing.
- 25. Games The opening shot that scatters the grouped balls in billiards or pool.
- 26. Games A run or unbroken series of successful shots, as in billiards or croquet.
- 27. Sports & Games Failure to score a strike or a spare in a given bowling frame.
- 28. Sports A service break.
- 29. also brake A high horse-drawn carriage with four wheels.
- 30. Break dancing.
Origin: Middle English breken, from Old English brecan; see bhreg- in Indo-European roots.
break - Computer Definition
(1) To temporarily or permanently stop executing, printing or transmitting.
(2) In cryptography, to decrypt a ciphertext without knowing the key or to find a flaw in an encryption algorithm or implementation that permits such cryptanalysis.
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break - Investment & Finance Definition
A quick and sharp price decline; a term frequently used in trading.Webster's New World Finance and Investment Dictionary Copyright © 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana.
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
- A sharp price decline in a particular security or in the market as a whole. A break usually occurs when unexpected negative information is made public and investors rush to sell. Also called market break.
- A discrepancy on the books of a brokerage firm.
- To dissolve an underwriting syndicate.
- See bust.
break - Phrases/Idioms
break a leg!â
- to go out of working order
- to give way to tears or emotion
- to have a physical or nervous collapse
- to crush or overcome (opposition, etc.)
- to separate into parts; analyze
- to enter forcibly or unexpectedly
- to interrupt
- to train (a beginner)
- â to prepare (something new) by use or wear
break in onor break in upon
- to intrude on
- to interrupt
- to stop abruptly, as in talking
- to stop being friendly or intimate
- to begin suddenly
- to escape suddenly
- to become covered with pimples or a rash
- Naut. to bring out of stowage for use break out the foul weather gear
- Informal to bring out (anything) for use
- to separate; dispersealso, esp. as a command, break it up
- to take apart; dismantle and scrap
- to put a stop to
- Informal to end a relationship
- â Informal to distress or upset greatly
- â Informal to laugh or make laugh uncontrollably
give someone a breakâ
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
break a leg
- To begin a new construction project.
- To advance beyond previous achievements.
break new ground
break (one's) neck
- break /ranks
- To fall into disorder, as a formation of soldiers.
- To fail to conform to a prevailing or expected pattern or order: “Architectural experts have criticized the plaza in the past because it breaks rank with the distinctive façades of neighboring Fifth Avenue blocks, whose buildings are flush with the sidewalk” (Sharon Churcher).
break (someone's) heart
break the bank
break the ice
- To make a start.
- To relax a tense or unduly formal atmosphere or social situation.