Break meaning

brāk
To cause to separate into pieces suddenly or violently; smash.
verb
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2
To crack without separating into pieces.

Broke the mirror.

verb
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3
(electricity) To render (a circuit) inoperative by disruption; open.
verb
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4
To produce (a sweat) copiously on the skin, as from exercise.
verb
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3
To force one's way out of; escape from.

Break jail.

verb
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3
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To snap off or detach.

Broke a twig from the tree.

verb
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To vary or disrupt the uniformity or continuity of.

A plain that was broken by low hills; caught the ball without breaking stride.

verb
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To open (a shotgun or similar firearm) at the breech, as for loading or cleaning.
verb
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To make or bring about by cutting or forcing.

Break a trail through the woods.

verb
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To make known, as news.

Break a story.

verb
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To surpass or outdo.

Broke the league's home-run record.

verb
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To overcome or put an end to, especially by force or strong opposition.

Break a deadlock in negotiations; break a strike.

verb
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(sports) To win a game on (an opponent's service), as in tennis.
verb
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To lessen the force or effect of.

Break a fall.

verb
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To render useless or inoperative.

We accidentally broke the radio.

verb
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To weaken or destroy, as in spirit or health; overwhelm with adversity.
verb
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To cause the ruin or failure of (an enterprise, for example).

Indiscretion broke both marriage and career.

verb
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To reduce in rank; demote.
verb
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To cause to be without money or to go into bankruptcy.
verb
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To fail to fulfill; cancel.

Break an engagement.

verb
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To fail to conform to; violate.

Break the speed limit.

verb
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(law) To cause (a will) to be invalidated because of inconsistency with state inheritance laws or as a result of other legal insufficiency.
verb
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To train to obey; tame.

The horse was difficult to break.

verb
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To become separated into pieces or fragments.
verb
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To become cracked or split.
verb
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To become fractured.

His arm broke from the fall.

verb
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To become unusable or inoperative.

The television broke.

verb
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To give way; collapse.

The scaffolding broke during the storm.

verb
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To burst.

The blister broke.

verb
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To scatter or disperse; part.

The clouds broke after the storm.

verb
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(games) To make the opening shot that scatters the grouped balls in billiards or pool.
verb
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(sports) To separate from a clinch in boxing.
verb
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(sports) To win a game on the opponent's service, as in tennis.

Broke twice in the first set.

verb
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To move away or escape suddenly.

Broke from his grip and ran off.

verb
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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.

verb
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To emerge above the surface of water.
verb
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To become known or noticed.

The big story broke on Friday.

verb
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To change direction or move suddenly.

The quarterback broke to the left to avoid a tackler.

verb
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(baseball) To curve near or over the plate.

The pitch broke away from the batter.

verb
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To change suddenly from one tone quality or musical register to another.

His voice broke into a falsetto.

verb
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(linguistics) To undergo breaking.
verb
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To change to a gait different from the one set. Used of a horse.
verb
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To interrupt or cease an activity.

We'll break for coffee at ten.

verb
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To discontinue an association, an agreement, or a relationship.

The partners broke over a financial matter. One hates to break with an old friend.

verb
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To diminish or discontinue abruptly.

The fever is breaking.

verb
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To diminish in or lose physical or spiritual strength; weaken or succumb.

Their good cheer broke after repeated setbacks.

verb
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To decrease sharply in value or quantity.

Stock prices broke when the firm suddenly announced layoffs.

verb
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To come to an end.

The cold spell broke yesterday.

verb
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To collapse or crash into surf or spray.

Waves that were breaking along the shore.

verb
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(informal) To take place or happen; proceed.

Things have been breaking well for them.

verb
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To engage in breaking; break dance.
verb
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The act or an occurrence of breaking.
noun
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The result of breaking, as a crack, separation, or opening.

A break in the clouds.

noun
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The beginning or emergence of something.

The break of day.

noun
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A sudden movement; a dash.

The dog made a break toward the open field.

noun
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An escape.

A prison break.

noun
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An interruption or a disruption in continuity or regularity.

Television programming without commercial breaks.

noun
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A pause or interval, as from work.

A coffee break.

noun
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A sudden or marked change.

A break in the weather.

noun
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A violation.

A security break.

noun
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An often sudden piece of luck, especially good luck.

Finally got the big break in life.

noun
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A severing of ties.

Made a break with the past; a break between the two families.

noun
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(informal) A faux pas.
noun
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A sudden decline in prices.
noun
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A caesura.
noun
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(electricity) Interruption of a flow of current.
noun
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(geology) A marked change in topography such as a fault or deep valley.
noun
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(nautical) The point of discontinuity between two levels on the deck of a ship.
noun
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A change in a horse's gait to one different from that set by the rider.
noun
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(sports) The swerving of a ball from a straight path of flight, as in baseball or cricket.
noun
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(sports) The beginning of a race.
noun
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(games) The opening shot that scatters the grouped balls in billiards or pool.
noun
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(games) A run or unbroken series of successful shots, as in billiards or croquet.
noun
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(sports & games) Failure to score a strike or a spare in a given bowling frame.
noun
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(sports) A service break.
noun
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Break dancing.
noun
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To cause to come apart by force; split or crack sharply into pieces; smash; burst.
verb
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To cause the failure of by force or extralegal measures.

To break a strike.

verb
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To make unusable or inoperative by cracking, disrupting, etc.
verb
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To tame or make obedient with or as with force.
verb
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To lower in rank or grade; demote.
verb
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To surpass (a record)
verb
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To fail to follow the terms of (a law, promise, agreement, etc.); violate.
verb
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To disrupt the order, rhythm, or completeness of; make irregular.

The troops broke formation and ran; the racehorse stumbled and broke stride.

verb
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To interrupt (a journey, electric circuit, etc.)
verb
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To reduce the force of by interrupting (a fall, the wind, etc.)
verb
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To bring to a sudden end.

To break a tie.

verb
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To make known; tell; disclose.
verb
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To make (a will) invalid by legal process.
verb
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To prove (an alibi) to be false.
verb
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To begin; open; start.
verb
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To exchange (a bill or coin) for smaller units.
verb
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To open (a rifle or shotgun) at the breech.
verb
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To split into pieces; come apart; burst.
verb
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To scatter; disperse.

To break and run.

verb
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To force one's way (into something or through obstacles or resistance)
verb
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To quarrel; stop associating (with)
verb
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To become unusable or inoperative; go out of order.
verb
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To suffer a sudden fall in prices, financial condition, etc.
verb
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To change suddenly, as by a sharp rise, fall, turn, shift, etc.

His voice broke; the hot spell broke.

verb
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To move into a gait other than the trot or pace required.
verb
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To begin suddenly to utter, perform, do, etc.

To break into song, break into a sweat, break out in hives.

verb
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To come suddenly into being, evidence, or general knowledge.

Day was breaking; the story broke.

verb
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To appear suddenly above water, as a periscope, fish, etc.
verb
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To stop activity temporarily.

We broke for lunch.

verb
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To suffer a collapse of health, vitality, spirit, etc.
verb
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To change into a diphthong.
verb
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To curve, dip, or rise near the plate.
verb
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To begin a game of pocket billiards with a break.
verb
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(informal) To happen in a certain way.

Things were breaking badly.

verb
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A breaking open or apart; breach; fracture.
noun
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The result of a breaking; broken place; separation; crack.
noun
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A beginning or appearance.

The break of day.

noun
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An interruption of a regular or continuous arrangement, action, etc.
noun
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The result of this; a gap, interval, pause, omission, rest, etc.
noun
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A breach in friendly relations.
noun
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A sudden change, as in weather.
noun
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An escape, as from prison.
noun
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A sudden lowering or drop, as of prices.
noun
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An imperfection; flaw.
noun
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An unbroken series or sequence, as of points in billiards.
noun
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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.
noun
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noun
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(1) To temporarily or permanently stop executing, printing or transmitting.
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A quick and sharp price decline; a term frequently used in trading.
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(intransitive) To separate into two or more pieces, to fracture or crack, by a process that cannot easily be reversed for reassembly.
  • (intransitive) To crack or fracture (bone) under a physical strain.
    His ribs broke under the weight of the rocks piled on his chest.
    She broke his neck.
    He slipped on the ice and broke his leg.

If the vase falls to the floor, it might break.

She broke the vase.

verb
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(US) To divide (something, often money) into smaller units.

Can you break a hundred-dollar bill for me?

The wholesaler broke the container loads into palettes and boxes for local retailers.

verb
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To cause (a person) to lose his or her spirit or will; to crush the spirits of; to ruin (a person) emotionally.

Her child's death broke Angela.

Interrogators have used many forms of torture to break prisoners of war.

verb
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(intransitive) To be crushed, or overwhelmed with sorrow or grief.

My heart is breaking.

verb
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To cause (a person or animal) to lose its will.

You have to break an elephant before you can use it as an animal of burden.

The interrogator hoped to break her to get her testimony against her accomplices.

verb
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To interrupt; to destroy the continuity of; to dissolve or terminate.

I've got to break this habit I have of biting my nails.

To break silence; to break one's sleep; to break one's journey.

I had won four games in a row, but now you've broken my streak of luck.

verb
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To ruin financially.

The recession broke some small businesses.

verb
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To violate, to not adhere to.

When you go to Vancouver, promise me you won't break the law.

He broke his vows by cheating on his wife.

Break one's word.

Time travel would break the laws of physics.

verb
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(intransitive, of a fever) To pass the most dangerous part of the illness; to go down, temperaturewise.

Susan's fever broke at about 3 AM, and the doctor said the worst was over.

verb
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(gaming slang) To design or use a powerful (yet legal) strategy that unbalances the game in a player's favor.

Letting white have three extra queens would break chess.

verb
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(intransitive) To stop, or to cause to stop, functioning properly or altogether.
  • (specifically, in programming) To cause (some feature of a program or piece of software) to stop functioning properly; to cause a regression.
    Adding 64-bit support broke backward compatibility with earlier versions.

On the hottest day of the year the refrigerator broke.

Did you two break the trolley by racing with it?

verb
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To cause (a barrier) to no longer bar.
  • (specifically) To cause the shell of (an egg) to crack, so that the inside (yolk) is accessible.
  • (specifically) To open (a safe) without using the correct key, combination, or the like.

Break a seal.

verb
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(intransitive, of a wave of water) To collapse into surf, after arriving in shallow water.
verb
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(intransitive, of a storm or spell of weather) To end.

The forecast says the hot weather will break by midweek.

verb
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(intransitive) To burst forth; to make its way; to come into view.
verb
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(intransitive) To interrupt or cease one's work or occupation temporarily.

Let's break for lunch.

verb
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To interrupt (a fall) by inserting something so that the falling object not hit something else beneath.

He survived the jump out the window because the bushes below broke his fall.

verb
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(ergative) To disclose or make known an item of news, etc.

The newsman wanted to break a big story, something that would make him famous.

I don't know how to break this to you, but your cat is not coming back.

In the latest breaking news...

When news of their divorce broke...

verb
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(intransitive, of morning) To arrive.

Morning has broken.

verb
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(intransitive, of a sound) To become audible suddenly.
verb
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His coughing broke the silence.

His turning on the lights broke the enchantment.

With the mood broken, what we had been doing seemed pretty silly.

verb
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(copulative, informal) To suddenly become.

Things began breaking bad for him when his parents died.

The arrest was standard, when suddenly the suspect broke ugly.

verb
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(intransitive) Of a voice, to alter in type: in men generally to go up, in women sometimes to go down; to crack.

His voice breaks when he gets emotional.

verb
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To surpass or do better than (a specific number), to do better than (a record), setting a new record.

He broke the men's 100-meter record.

I can't believe she broke 3 under par!

The policeman broke sixty on a residential street in his hurry to catch the thief.

verb
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(sports and games):
  • (tennis) To win a game (against one's opponent) as receiver.
    He needs to break serve to win the match.
  • (intransitive, billiards, snooker, pool) To make the first shot; to scatter the balls from the initial neat arrangement.
    Is it your or my turn to break?.
  • (backgammon) To remove one of the two men on (a point).
verb
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(military, most often in the passive tense) To demote, to reduce the military rank of.
verb
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To end (a connection), to disconnect.

The referee ordered the boxers to break the clinch.

The referee broke the boxers' clinch.

I couldn't hear a thing he was saying, so I broke the connection and called him back.

verb
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(intransitive, of an emulsion) To demulsify.
verb
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(intransitive, sports) To counter-attack.
verb
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(intransitive) To become weakened in constitution or faculties; to lose health or strength.
verb
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To destroy the arrangement of; to throw into disorder; to pierce.

The cavalry were not able to break the British squares.

verb
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To destroy the strength, firmness, or consistency of.

To break flax.

verb
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To destroy the official character and standing of; to cashier; to dismiss.
verb
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(intransitive) To make an abrupt or sudden change; to change the gait.

To break into a run or gallop.

verb
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(archaic) To fall out; to terminate friendship.
verb
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An instance of breaking something into two pieces.

The femur has a clean break and so should heal easily.

noun
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A physical space that opens up in something or between two things.

The sun came out in a break in the clouds.

He waited minutes for a break in the traffic to cross the highway.

noun
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(music) A short section of music, often between verses, in which some performers stop while others continue.

The fiddle break was amazing, it was a pity the singer came back in on the wrong note.

noun
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A rest or pause, usually from work; a breaktime.

Let’s take a five-minute break.

noun
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A temporary split (with a romantic partner).

I think we need a break.

noun
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An interval or intermission between two parts of a performance, for example a theatre show, broadcast, or sports game.
noun
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A significant change in circumstance, attitude, perception, or focus of attention: big break, lucky break, bad break.
noun
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(UK, weather) A change; the end of a spell of persistent good or bad weather.
noun
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The beginning (of the morning).

Daybreak.

At the break of day.

noun
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An act of escaping.

Make a break for it.

Make a break for the door.

It was a clean break.

Prison break.

noun
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(surfing) A place where waves break (that is, where waves pitch or spill forward creating white water).

The final break in the Greenmount area is Kirra Point.

noun
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(sports and games):
  • (tennis) A game won by the receiving player(s).
  • (billiards, snooker, pool) The first shot in a game of billiards.
  • (snooker) The number of points scored by one player in one visit to the table.
  • (soccer) The counter-attack.
noun
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(dated) A large four-wheeled carriage, having a straight body and calash top, with the driver's seat in front and the footman's behind.
noun
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A sharp bit or snaffle.
noun
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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.

verb
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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.

noun
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1
break a leg
  • Used to wish someone, such as an actor, success in a performance.
idiom
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break bread
  • To eat together.
idiom
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break camp
  • To pack up equipment and leave a campsite.
idiom
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break cover
  • To emerge from a protected location or hiding place:
    The platoon broke cover and headed down the road.
idiom
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break even
  • To gain an amount equal to that invested, as in a commercial venture.
idiom
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break ground
  • To begin a new construction project.
  • To advance beyond previous achievements.
idiom
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break new ground
  • To advance beyond previous achievements:
    Broke new ground in the field of computers.
idiom
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break (one's) neck
  • To make the utmost possible effort.
idiom
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break rank
  • To fall into disorder, as a formation of soldiers.
  • To fail to conform to a prevailing or expected pattern or order:
idiom
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break (someone's) heart
  • To disappoint or dispirit someone severely.
idiom
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break the bank
  • To require more money than is available.
idiom
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break the buck
  • To fall below the value of one dollar. Used of the net asset value of a mutual fund, especially a money market fund.
idiom
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break the ice
  • To make a start.
  • To relax a tense or unduly formal atmosphere or social situation.
idiom
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break wind
  • To expel intestinal gas.
idiom
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break a leg!
  • good luck!
idiom
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break away
  • to leave suddenly; get away; escape
idiom
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break down
  • 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
idiom
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0
break even
  • to finish as neither a winner nor a loser
idiom
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break in
  • to enter forcibly or unexpectedly
  • to interrupt
  • to train (a beginner)
  • to prepare (something new) by use or wear
idiom
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break in on
  • to intrude on
  • to interrupt
idiom
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0
break off
  • to stop abruptly, as in talking
  • to stop being friendly or intimate
idiom
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break out
  • to begin suddenly
  • to escape suddenly
  • to become covered with pimples or a rash
  • to show as a separate item, as on a financial statement
idiom
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break service
  • to win a game in which one's opponent serves
idiom
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break up
  • to separate; disperse
  • to take apart; dismantle and scrap
  • to put a stop to
  • to end a relationship
  • to distress or upset greatly
  • to laugh or make laugh uncontrollably
  • to be interrupted, as by interference or signal loss, often, specif., to the point of being unintelligible
idiom
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give someone a break
  • to stop treating someone harshly, critically, etc.
idiom
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0
the breaks
  • the ways of fortune; the way one's luck plays out
idiom
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0

Origin of break

  • Middle English breken from Old English brecan bhreg- in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Middle English breken, from Old English brecan (“to break”), from Proto-Germanic *brekaną (“to break”), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰrag-.

    From Wiktionary