Break 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, br["a]kka to crack, Dan. br[ae]kke to break, Goth. brikan to break, L. frangere. Cf. {Bray} to pound, {Breach}, {Fragile}.] 1. To strain apart; to sever by fracture; to divide with violence; as, to break a rope or chain; to break a seal; to break an axle; to break rocks or coal; to break a lock. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

2. To lay open as by breaking; to divide; as, to break a package of goods. [1913 Webster]

3. To lay open, as a purpose; to disclose, divulge, or communicate. [1913 Webster]

Katharine, break thy mind to me. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

4. To infringe or violate, as an obligation, law, or promise. [1913 Webster]

Out, out, hyena! these are thy wonted arts . . . To break all faith, all vows, deceive, betray. --Milton [1913 Webster]

5. To interrupt; to destroy the continuity of; to dissolve or terminate; as, to break silence; to break one's sleep; to break one's journey. [1913 Webster]

Go, release them, Ariel; My charms I'll break, their senses I'll restore. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

6. To destroy the completeness of; to remove a part from; as, to break a set. [1913 Webster]

7. To destroy the arrangement of; to throw into disorder; to pierce; as, the cavalry were not able to break the British squares. [1913 Webster]

8. To shatter to pieces; to reduce to fragments. [1913 Webster]

The victim broke in pieces the musical instruments with which he had solaced the hours of captivity. --Prescott. [1913 Webster]

9. To exchange for other money or currency of smaller denomination; as, to break a five dollar bill. [1913 Webster]

10. To destroy the strength, firmness, or consistency of; as, to break flax. [1913 Webster]

11. To weaken or impair, as health, spirit, or mind. [1913 Webster]

An old man, broken with the storms of state. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

12. To diminish the force of; to lessen the shock of, as a fall or blow. [1913 Webster]

I'll rather leap down first, and break your fall. --Dryden. [1913 Webster]

13. To impart, as news or information; to broach; -- with to, and often with a modified word implying some reserve; as, to break the news gently to the widow; to break a purpose cautiously to a friend. [1913 Webster]

14. To tame; to reduce to subjection; to make tractable; to discipline; as, to break a horse to the harness or saddle. ``To break a colt.'' --Spenser. [1913 Webster]

Why, then thou canst not break her to the lute? --Shak. [1913 Webster]

15. To destroy the financial credit of; to make bankrupt; to ruin. [1913 Webster]

With arts like these rich Matho, when he speaks, Attracts all fees, and little lawyers breaks. --Dryden. [1913 Webster]

16. To destroy the official character and standing of; to cashier; to dismiss. [1913 Webster]

I see a great officer broken. --Swift. [1913 Webster]

Note: With prepositions or adverbs: [1913 Webster]

{To break down}. (a) To crush; to overwhelm; as, to break down one's strength; to break down opposition. (b) To remove, or open a way through, by breaking; as, to break down a door or wall.

{To break in}. (a) To force in; as, to break in a door. (b) To train; to discipline; as, a horse well broken in.

{To break of}, to rid of; to cause to abandon; as, to break one of a habit.

{To break off}. (a) To separate by breaking; as, to break off a twig. (b) To stop suddenly; to abandon. ``Break off thy sins by righteousness.'' --Dan. iv. 27.

{To break open}, to open by breaking. ``Open the door, or I will break it open.'' --Shak.

{To break out}, to take or force out by breaking; as, to break out a pane of glass.

{To break out a cargo}, to unstow a cargo, so as to unload it easily.

{To break through}. (a) To make an opening through, as, as by violence or the force of gravity; to pass violently through; as, to break through the enemy's lines; to break through the ice. (b) To disregard; as, to break through the ceremony.

{To break up}. (a) To separate into parts; to plow (new or fallow ground). ``Break up this capon.'' --Shak. ``Break up your fallow ground.'' --Jer. iv. 3. (b) To dissolve; to put an end to. ``Break up the court.'' --Shak.

{To break} (one) {all up}, to unsettle or disconcert completely; to upset. [Colloq.] [1913 Webster]

Note: With an immediate object: [1913 Webster]

{To break the back}. (a) To dislocate the backbone; hence, to disable totally. (b) To get through the worst part of; as, to break the back of a difficult undertaking.

{To break bulk}, to destroy the entirety of a load by removing a portion of it; to begin to unload; also, to transfer in detail, as from boats to cars.

{To break a code} to discover a method to convert coded messages into the original understandable text.

{To break cover}, to burst forth from a protecting concealment, as game when hunted.

{To break a deer} or {To break a stag}, to cut it up and apportion the parts among those entitled to a share.

{To break fast}, to partake of food after abstinence. See {Breakfast}.

{To break ground}. (a) To open the earth as for planting; to commence excavation, as for building, siege operations, and the like; as, to break ground for a foundation, a canal, or a railroad. (b) Fig.: To begin to execute any plan. (c) (Naut.) To release the anchor from the bottom.

{To break the heart}, to crush or overwhelm (one) with grief.

{To break a house} (Law), to remove or set aside with violence and a felonious intent any part of a house or of the fastenings provided to secure it.

{To break the ice}, to get through first difficulties; to overcome obstacles and make a beginning; to introduce a subject.

{To break jail}, to escape from confinement in jail, usually by forcible means.

{To break a jest}, to utter a jest. ``Patroclus . . . the livelong day breaks scurril jests.'' --Shak.

{To break joints}, to lay or arrange bricks, shingles, etc., so that the joints in one course shall not coincide with those in the preceding course.

{To break a lance}, to engage in a tilt or contest.

{To break the neck}, to dislocate the joints of the neck.

{To break no squares}, to create no trouble. [Obs.]

{To break a path}, {road}, etc., to open a way through obstacles by force or labor.

{To break upon a wheel}, to execute or torture, as a criminal by stretching him upon a wheel, and breaking his limbs with an iron bar; -- a mode of punishment formerly employed in some countries.

{To break wind}, to give vent to wind from the anus. [1913 Webster]

Syn: To dispart; rend; tear; shatter; batter; violate; infringe; demolish; destroy; burst; dislocate. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


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