break
I. verb (broke; broken; breaking) Etymology: Middle English breken, from Old English brecan; akin to Old High German brehhan to break, Latin frangere Date: before 12th century transitive verb 1. a. to separate into parts with suddenness or violence b. fracture <
break an arm
>
c. rupture <
break the skin
>
d. to cut into and turn over the surface of <
break the soil
>
e. to render inoperable <
broke his watch
>
2. a. violate, transgress <
break the law
>
<
break a promise
>
b. to invalidate (a will) by action at law 3. a. archaic to force entry into b. to burst and force a way through <
break the sound barrier
>
<
break a racial barrier
>
c. to escape by force from <
break jail
>
d. to make or effect by cutting, forcing, or pressing through <
break a trail through the woods
>
4. to disrupt the order or compactness of <
break formation
>
5. to make ineffective as a binding force <
break the spell
>
6. a. to defeat utterly and end as an effective force ; destroy <
used starvation to break the enemy
>
b. to crush the spirit of <
brutal methods broke the prisoner
>
c. to make tractable or submissive: as (1) past participle often broke to train (an animal) to adjust to the service or convenience of humans <
a halter-broke horse
>
(2) inure, accustom d. to exhaust in health, strength, or capacity <
broken by his struggle for power
>
7. a. to stop or bring to an end suddenly ; halt <
break a deadlock
>
b. interrupt, suspend <
break the silence with a cry
>
c. to open and bring about suspension of operation <
break an electric circuit
>
d. to destroy unity or completeness of <
break a dining room set by buying a chair
>
e. to change the appearance of uniformity of <
a dormer breaks the level roof
>
f. to split the surface of <
fish breaking water
>
g. to cause to discontinue a habit <
tried to break him of smoking
>
8. a. to make known ; tell <
break the bad news gently
>
b. to bring to attention or prominence initially <
radio stations breaking new musicians
>
<
break a news story
>
9. a. to ruin financially <
break the bank
>
b. to reduce in rank <
broken from sergeant to private
>
10. a. to split into smaller units, parts, or processes ; divide b. (1) to give or get the equivalent of (a bill) in smaller denominations (2) to use as the denomination in paying a bill <
didn't want to break a $20 bill
>
— often used with into, up, or down 11. a. to check the speed, force, or intensity of <
the bushes will break his fall
>
<
without breaking her stride
>
b. to cause failure and discontinuance of (a strike) by measures outside bargaining processes 12. to cause a sudden significant decrease in the price, value, or volume of <
news likely to break the market sharply
>
13. a. exceed, surpass <
break the record
>
b. to score less than (a specified total) <
a golfer trying to break 90
>
c. to win against (an opponent's service) in tennis d. to make (a run) in football by getting past defenders <
broke a 20-yard run
>
14. to open the action of (a breechloader) 15. a. to find an explanation or solution for ; solve <
the detective broke the case
>
b. to discover the essentials of (a code or cipher system) 16. to demonstrate the falsity of <
break an alibi
>
17. to ruin the prospects of <
could make or break her career
>
18. to produce visibly <
barely breaks a sweat
>
intransitive verb 1. a. to escape with sudden forceful effort <
the attacker broke from the throng
>
b. to come into being by or as if by bursting forth <
day was breaking
>
c. to effect a penetration <
break through security lines
>
d. to emerge through the surface of the water e. to start abruptly <
when the storm broke
>
f. to become known or published <
when the news broke
>
g. to make a sudden dash <
break for cover
>
h. to separate after a clinch in boxing i. to achieve initial success in usually a sudden or striking way <
her song broke nationally
>
j. to begin a race <
the horse broke poorly
>
2. a. to come apart or split into pieces ; fragment, shatter <
the cup broke when it fell
>
b. to open spontaneously or by pressure from within <
the blister broke
>
c. of a wave to curl over and fall apart in surf or foam 3. to interrupt one's activity or occupation for a brief period <
break for lunch
>
4. to alter sharply in tone, pitch, or intensity <
a voice breaking with emotion
>
5. to become fair ; clear <
when the weather breaks
>
6. to make the opening shot of a game of pool 7. to end a relationship, connection, or agreement — usually used with with or from 8. to give way in disorderly retreat 9. a. to swerve suddenly b. to curve from a straight path <
a pitch that breaks away from the batter
>
<
a putt that breaks left
>
10. a. to fail in health, strength, vitality, resolve, or control <
may break under questioning
>
b. to become inoperative because of damage, wear, or strain <
the pump broke
>
11. to fail to keep a prescribed gait — used of a horse 12. to undergo a sudden significant decrease in price, value, or volume <
transportation stocks may break sharply
>
13. happen, develop <
for the team to succeed, everything has to break right
>
14. to win against an opponent's service in tennis 15. a. to divide into classes, categories, or types — usually used with into <
the rose is broken into several varieties
>
b. to fold, bend, lift, or come apart at a seam, groove, or joint c. of cream to separate during churning into liquid and fat II. noun Date: 14th century 1. a. an act or action of breaking b. the opening shot in a game of pool or billiards 2. a. a condition produced by or as if by breaking ; gap <
a break in the clouds
>
b. a gap in an otherwise continuous electric circuit 3. the action or act of breaking in, out, or forth <
at break of day
>
<
a jail break
>
4. a place or situation at which a break occurs: as a. the place at which a word is divided especially at the end of a line of print or writing b. the point or location at which waves break for surfing 5. an interruption in continuity <
a break in the weather
>
: as a. a notable change of subject matter, attitude, or treatment b. (1) an abrupt, significant, or noteworthy change or interruption in a continuous process, trend, or surface (2) a respite from work, school, or duty <
coffee break
>
<
spring break
>
(3) relief from annoyance — often used to express exasperation or irritation in phrases like give me a break (4) a planned interruption in a radio or television program <
a break for the commercial
>
c. deviation of a pitched baseball from a straight line d. mining fault, dislocation e. failure of a horse to maintain the prescribed gait f. an abrupt change in musical or vocal pitch or quality g. the action or an instance of breaking service in tennis h. a usually solo instrumental passage in jazz, folk, or popular music 6. a. dash, rush <
a base runner making a break for home
>
b. fast break 7. a sudden and abrupt decline of prices or values 8. a. the start of a race b. the act of separating after a clinch in boxing 9. a. a stroke of luck and especially of good luck <
a bad break
>
<
got the breaks
>
b. a favorable or opportune situation ; chance <
waiting for a big break in show business
>
c. favorable consideration or treatment <
a tax break
>
<
a break on the price
>
10. a. a rupture in previously agreeable relations <
a break between the two countries
>
b. an abrupt split or difference with something previously adhered to or followed <
a sharp break with tradition
>
11. breakdown 1c <
suffered a mental break
>

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

Synonyms:

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 — bezeichnet: Break (Billard), Eröffnungsstoß einer Billardpartie Break (Musik), Pause in einem Musikstück Break (Tanzen), Stopp beim Tanzen Break Taste, englische Bezeichnung der Pause Taste auf einer Computer Tastatur einen Programmierbefehl zum… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Break — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda El término break tiene dos acepciones: Break, concepto musical que indica un movimiento de percusión distinto del que se estaba ejecutando. Break, carruaje con dos plazas delanteras y al menos seis plazas traseras.… …   Wikipedia Español

  • break — [breik] <aus gleichbed. engl. break!, Imperativ von to break »(ab , unter)brechen«> geht auseinander! (Kommando des Ringrichters beim Boxkampf) …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

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