break1 [ breık ] (past tense broke [ brouk ] ; past participle broken [ `broukən ] ) verb ***
▸ 1 separate into pieces
▸ 2 fail to obey rules
▸ 3 make a hole/cut
▸ 4 destroy someone's confidence
▸ 5 when people learn news
▸ 6 stop for a short time
▸ 7 make something bad end
▸ 8 when the day starts
▸ 9 when weather changes
▸ 10 when a voice deepens
▸ 11 when waves start to fall
▸ 12 learn to understand
▸ 13 when a fever ends
1. ) transitive to make something separate into two or more pieces, for example by hitting or dropping it:
Some kids who were throwing rocks broke several of the windows.
break something in half/two etc.: Break the spaghetti in half and put it into the boiling water.
a ) intransitive if something breaks, it becomes damaged and separates into pieces:
Shake the snow off of the branches to prevent them from breaking.
break into: The glass slipped from her hand and broke into a dozen pieces.
b ) intransitive or transitive if a bone in your body breaks, or if you break it, it cracks or separates into two pieces:
She broke her leg playing football.
Older bones tend to break more easily.
c ) intransitive or transitive if a piece of equipment breaks, or if you break it, it stops working correctly because a part of it is damaged:
We used to have a toaster, but it broke.
Don't play with the camera you'll break it.
2. ) transitive to fail to obey a rule or law:
If you break the speed limit, the penalties are severe.
break the law: I don't care what your reasons are. The fact is you're breaking the law.
a ) to not do something that you promised or agreed to do:
They have started drilling for oil in the region, breaking an agreement made five years ago.
Elliot claims that his business partner broke her contract.
3. ) transitive to make a hole or cut in the surface of something:
The dog bit his leg, but fortunately didn't break the skin.
Every so often a fish broke the still surface of the lake.
4. ) transitive to destroy someone's confidence, determination, or happiness:
a campaign of violence and intimidation, that eventually broke the opposition's will
break someone's spirit: Twenty years in prison had not broken his spirit.
a ) intransitive to lose your determination or confidence, especially when someone is deliberately trying to make this happen:
She didn't break, even under hours of intense interrogation.
5. ) intransitive if important news breaks, it becomes publicly known:
He was back in France when the news broke.
For some days after the scandal broke, the press couldn't find him.
a ) transitive to publish or broadcast a news story for the first time:
The Chronicle broke the story on Christmas Eve.
b ) transitive to tell someone bad news in a kind way:
I didn't know how to break it to her.
6. ) intransitive to stop what you are doing for a short period of time:
Why don't we break now and meet again tomorrow?
break for: OK, let's break for lunch.
7. ) transitive to stop a bad situation from continuing:
Everyone must work together to break the cycle of violence.
Their goal was to break the monopoly of the state telecoms corporation.
break a deadlock (=end a situation in which no progress is being made): The meeting went on late into the night in an attempt to break the deadlock.
break someone's hold/grip on something: They are determined to break the army's hold on power.
a ) to end your connection or relationship with someone: SEVER:
The party is looking to break its ties with the far right.
b ) to end a quiet or calm period, for example by talking or making a noise:
Hardly a sound broke the sleepy summer silence.
The peaceful mood was broken by the blare of a police siren.
c ) to end a long period in which you have refused to talk about something:
Breaking a ten-year silence, he has talked for the first time about his wife's suicide.
8. ) intransitive when day breaks, it starts to get light in the morning: DAWN:
The day broke gray and dull.
9. ) intransitive if a storm breaks, it starts
a ) if the weather breaks, it changes unexpectedly, and usually becomes worse:
The long hot spell finally broke.
10. ) intransitive if a boy's voice breaks, it becomes deeper and he starts to sound like a man
a ) if someone's voice breaks, they become unable to speak clearly, usually because they are upset
11. ) intransitive if waves break, they reach their highest point and start to fall
12. ) transitive if someone breaks a CODE (=a secret way of writing), they learn how to understand it
13. ) intransitive MAINLY LITERARY if someone's fever breaks, it starts to become less severe
break your back
to work extremely hard to get something done
break the back of something BRITISH
to finish the main part or the hardest part of a piece of work
break the bank
to win more at GAMBLING than the CASINO can pay you
break the...barrier
to be larger than the highest previous amount or the highest expected amount:
They're expecting profits to break the $5 million barrier.
break camp
to take down tents and equipment and leave the place where you have been camping
break someone's concentration
to interrupt someone so that they are unable to continue concentrating on something
break cover
to suddenly appear from where you have been hiding
break even
if a person or business breaks even, they neither make a profit nor lose money
break someone's fall
to stop someone who is falling from hitting the ground directly, so that they hurt themselves less than they would have done
break free or break loose
1. ) to escape from someone who is trying to hold you
2. ) to escape from an unpleasant person or situation that controls your life:
She'll never be happy until she breaks free of her family.
break a habit
to stop doing something that is a habit, especially something bad or harmful
break someone's heart
to make someone feel extremely sad:
It broke my heart to leave her.
break the ice
to do or say something that makes people feel less shy or nervous in a social situation
break a leg SPOKEN
used for wishing someone good luck
break the mold
to change a situation completely or do something in a completely new way
break someone's neck SPOKEN
if someone says they will break your neck, they are threatening to hurt you very badly because they are angry with you:
If you come near this place again, I'll break your neck.
break new ground
to do something completely different from what has been done before
break ranks
1. ) if soldiers or police officers break ranks, they stop standing in lines and move away
2. ) if a member of a group breaks ranks, they disagree publicly with the rest of the group:
Toricelli angered fellow Democrats by breaking ranks with the leadership.
break a record
to do something that is better, faster, etc. than anything that has been done before:
The painting has broken all previous records, selling for over $100 million.
break someone's serve/service
in tennis, to win a game in which your opponent is SERVING
break the spell MAINLY LITERARY
to spoil or end something very special
break a strike
1. ) to end a situation in which workers have been ON STRIKE
2. ) to start working again when you have been ON STRIKE
to start SWEATING because you are using a lot of energy
break wind
to allow gas to come out of your bottom
something won't break the bank INFORMAL
used for saying that something does not cost very much money:
One night out won't break the bank.
you're breaking my heart SPOKEN
used for telling someone that you do not feel any sympathy for them concerning what they have just told you
,break a`way phrasal verb intransitive
1. ) to escape from a person, place, or situation:
Anna tried to break away but he held her tight.
2. ) to leave a political party or other group, especially in order to start another one
3. ) if a part of something breaks away from the rest, it becomes separated from it
,break `down phrasal verb
1. ) intransitive if a machine or vehicle breaks down, it stops working:
The car broke down just outside Omaha.
2. ) transitive to divide something such as a total amount into separate parts:
The amount doesn't seem quite so bad when you break it down into monthly payments.
a ) intransitive or transitive if a substance breaks down or is broken down into parts, it separates into the parts that it is made up of:
Like all natural substances, it is easily broken down by bacteria.
3. ) intransitive to start crying, especially in public:
Many people broke down and wept.
4. ) intransitive if a relationship or discussion breaks down, it stops being successful:
At one point, the talks seemed close to breaking down.
5. ) transitive to hit something such as a door or wall very hard so that it falls down:
Firefighters had to break down the door to get into the house.
6. ) transitive to remove a difficulty that prevents something from happening:
The aim of the agreement is to break down barriers to trade.
`break for phrasal verb transitive
break for something to go somewhere quickly, especially in order to escape:
We're assuming they'll break for the border.
,break `in phrasal verb
1. ) intransitive to enter a building by force, especially in order to steal things:
Someone had broken in through the bedroom window.
2. ) intransitive to interrupt when someone is talking:
Hilary, he broke in gently, I'm just trying to help.
3. ) transitive to help someone get used to something new, for example a new job
4. ) transitive to make new shoes or clothes comfortable by wearing them:
a stiff pair of boots that took weeks to break in
5. ) transitive to train a horse that is young or wild
,break `into phrasal verb transitive break into something
1. ) to enter a building by force, especially in order to steal things:
A house in our neighborhood was broken into last night.
2. ) to start doing something:
break into a run/trot/gallop etc.: The kids saw the beach and broke into a run.
break into laughter/applause/song: I almost expected him to break into song.
break into a sweat: My legs were shaking with exhaustion, but Phil hadn't even broken into a sweat.
3. ) to interrupt someone when they are talking or thinking:
Christopher's voice broke into her thoughts.
4. ) to start to have success in your career or an area of activity:
It's always been his ambition to break into broadcasting.
5. ) to start to use an amount of money:
We had to break into our savings to pay the fine.
,break `off phrasal verb
1. ) intransitive or transitive to stop doing something, especially speaking:
Linda broke off, realizing the importance of what she was about to say.
2. ) transitive to end a relationship or a discussion:
break off relations/contact: The two countries have broken off diplomatic relations.
break off an engagement (=end an agreement to get married): Did you know they've broken off their engagement?
break it off (=to end a romantic relationship): I've decided to break it off with her.
3. ) transitive if you break a piece off something, you remove it from the main part:
Each child broke off a piece of bread.
a ) intransitive if a part of something breaks off, it becomes separated from the main part:
Part of the chimney broke off and fell to the ground.
,break `out phrasal verb intransitive
1. ) if something bad such as a war or a disease breaks out, it starts:
We got married a month before the war broke out.
The fire must have broken out during the night.
a ) to start to appear on the skin:
Sweat was beginning to break out on his forehead.
break out in: The skin on my arms was breaking out in a rash.
2. ) to escape from a prison
3. ) to escape from something such as a situation or way of life:
break out of: the desire to break out of his day-to-day routine
,break `through phrasal verb intransitive or transitive break through something
1. ) to force your way through something that is stopping you from moving forward:
A group of young demonstrators attempted to break through police lines.
a ) to successfully deal with something that is stopping you making progress:
attempts to break through prejudice in the workplace
2. ) if something that was hidden breaks through, it appears:
Maggie's head broke through the surface of the pool.
a ) used about light and the sun:
sunshine breaking through the clouds
b ) used about someone's behavior:
Her sense of humor kept breaking through.
,break `up phrasal verb
1. ) transitive to break something to make smaller pieces:
Break the chocolate up into squares.
a ) intransitive if something breaks up, it breaks into smaller pieces:
The airplane broke up in midair.
2. ) intransitive or transitive if a relationship breaks up, it ends:
The marriage broke up just a few years later.
a ) intransitive or transitive if two people break up, they end their relationship:
break up with: He's just broken up with his girlfriend.
3. ) intransitive or transitive if a meeting or other event breaks up, or if you break it up, it ends and the people leave:
The talks didn't break up until after midnight.
Sorry to break up the party, but I have to go.
4. ) transitive to stop a fight:
Campus police were called in to break up the rioters.
5. ) intransitive if the sound on a radio or cell phone breaks up, you can no longer hear the person who is speaking on it:
I can't hear you, you're breaking up.
6. ) transitive to divide a large area or a period of time into smaller parts so that it does not seem so big or long:
I usually go for a walk around three o'clock to break up the afternoon.
7. ) transitive break someone up INFORMAL to make someone laugh a lot
`break with phrasal verb transitive
1. ) break with someone/something to leave a group of people or a relationship, usually because of a disagreement:
That was the year he broke with the Democratic Party.
If he was making you unhappy, you were right to break with him.
2. ) break with something if someone breaks with the past or with tradition, they start doing things in a completely new way:
Some women broke with tradition by going to study abroad.
break 2 [ breık ] noun count ***
▸ 1 (time for) rest/vacation
▸ 2 pause in program
▸ 3 time of major change
▸ 4 where something is broken
▸ 5 a space in something
▸ 6 a change in someone's voice
▸ 7 in tennis
▸ 8 chance to be successful
1. ) a short period of time when you stop what you are doing so that you can eat or rest:
Doctors and nurses worked 18 hours without a break.
break from: A short nap can provide a much needed break from daily stress.
have/take a break: We decided to take a short break.
a lunch/coffee etc. break: They usually go shopping during their lunch break.
a ) usually singular a rest from the work or job that you usually do:
I could do with a break (=I need one).
break from: The art class is the only time I can get a break from the kids.
have/take a break (from): I decided to take a break from college and do some traveling.
b ) a short vacation:
a weekend break for two in Boston
c ) usually singular BRITISH a period of time when most people do not go to work:
the Easter/Christmas break
2. ) a pause between television or radio programs, especially when advertisements are broadcast:
We'll be back after the break.
a ) BRITISH INFORMAL a pause in a sports game:
the halftime break
3. ) a time at which one thing ends completely and a new thing begins:
Clinton represented a decisive break after 12 years of Republican dominance.
break with: a break with the past
make the break (=finally leave a job, relationship, etc.): a story about a woman who makes the break from an abusive relationship
4. ) a place where something is broken:
There was a small break at the corner of the frame.
a ) a place where a bone is broken
5. ) a space in something such as a line of traffic:
He waited for ages for a break in the traffic.
6. ) usually singular a sudden lack of control in someone's voice that shows they are upset
7. ) in tennis, a game that someone wins when their opponent is SERVING
8. ) usually singular an opportunity that helps you to be successful:
a lucky break
Kiefer's big break came with the movie Stand By Me.
a break in the weather
a short period of good weather during a long period of bad weather
break of day LITERARY
the time when it begins to get light in the morning
give someone a break
1. ) INFORMAL to stop criticizing someone:
It's time the news media gave her a break.
2. ) to do something that helps someone:
A caregiver visits once a week to give Jessica's mother a break.
give me a break SPOKEN
used for showing that you are annoyed by something someone has said or done, or that you do not think that what they have said is true
make a break (for something)
to suddenly run away from someone in order to escape:
He made a break for the exit.

Usage of the words and phrases in modern English. 2013.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Break — (br[=a]k), v. t. [imp. {broke} (br[=o]k), (Obs. {Brake}); p. p. {Broken} (br[=o] k n), (Obs. {Broke}); p. pr. & vb. n. {Breaking}.] [OE. breken, AS. brecan; akin to OS. brekan, D. breken, OHG. brehhan, G. brechen, Icel. braka to creak, Sw. braka …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Break — (br[=a]k), v. i. 1. To come apart or divide into two or more pieces, usually with suddenness and violence; to part; to burst asunder. [1913 Webster] 2. To open spontaneously, or by pressure from within, as a bubble, a tumor, a seed vessel, a bag …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • break — ► VERB (past broke; past part. broken) 1) separate into pieces as a result of a blow, shock, or strain. 2) make or become inoperative; stop working. 3) interrupt (a continuity, sequence, or course). 4) fail to observe (a law, regulation, or… …   English terms dictionary

  • break — vb Break, crack, burst, bust, snap, shatter, shiver are comparable as general terms meaning fundamentally to come apart or cause to come apart. Break basically implies the operation of a stress or strain that will cause a rupture, a fracture, a… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • break — [brāk] vt. broke, broken, breaking [ME breken < OE brecan < IE base * bhreg > BREACH, BREECH, Ger brechen, L frangere] 1. to cause to come apart by force; split or crack sharply into pieces; smash; burst 2. a) …   English World dictionary

  • break — / brāk/ vb broke / brōk/, bro·ken, / brō kən/, break·ing, / brā kiŋ/ vt 1 a: violate transgress break the law …   Law dictionary

  • break — [n1] fissure, opening breach, cleft, crack, discontinuity, disjunction, division, fracture, gap, gash, hole, rent, rift, rupture, schism, split, tear; concepts 230,757 Ant. association, attachment, binding, combination, fastening, juncture break… …   New thesaurus

  • Break — (br[=a]k), n. [See {Break}, v. t., and cf. {Brake} (the instrument), {Breach}, {Brack} a crack.] 1. An opening made by fracture or disruption. [1913 Webster] 2. An interruption of continuity; change of direction; as, a break in a wall; a break in …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • break-up — break ups also breakup 1) N COUNT: usu N of n, n N The break up of a marriage, relationship, or association is the act of it finishing or coming to an end because the people involved decide that it is not working successfully. Since the break up… …   English dictionary

  • break up — {v.} 1. To break into pieces. * /The workmen broke up the pavement to dig up the pipes under it./ * /River ice breaks up in the spring./ 2. {informal} To lose or destroy spirit or self control. Usually used in the passive. * /Mrs. Lawrence was… …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • break up — {v.} 1. To break into pieces. * /The workmen broke up the pavement to dig up the pipes under it./ * /River ice breaks up in the spring./ 2. {informal} To lose or destroy spirit or self control. Usually used in the passive. * /Mrs. Lawrence was… …   Dictionary of American idioms

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