Skip to definition.
Get the FREE one-click dictionary software for Windows or the iPhone/iPad and Android apps


Verb: break (broke,broken)  breyk
  1. Terminate
    "break a lucky streak"; "break the cycle of poverty";
    - interrupt
     
  2. Become separated into pieces or fragments
    "The figurine broke";
    - separate, split up, fall apart, come apart
     
  3. Render inoperable or ineffective
    "You broke the alarm clock when you took it apart!";
    - hose [N. Amer]
     
  4. Ruin completely
    - bust
     
  5. Destroy the integrity of; usually by force; cause to separate into pieces or fragments
    "He broke the glass plate"; "She broke the match"
     
  6. Act in disregard of laws, rules, contracts, or promises
    "break a law";
    - transgress, offend, infract, violate, go against, breach
     
  7. Move away or escape suddenly
    "The horses broke from the stable"; "Three inmates broke jail"; "Nobody can break out--this prison is high security"; "The horses broke away from the stable";
    - break out, break away
     
  8. Scatter or part
    "The clouds broke after the heavy downpour"
     
  9. Force out or release suddenly and often violently something pent up
    "break into tears";
    - burst, erupt
     
  10. Prevent completion
    "break off the negotiations";
    - break off, discontinue, stop
     
  11. Enter someone's (virtual or real) property in an unauthorized manner, usually with the intent to steal or commit a violent act
    "Someone broke in while I was on vacation"; "They broke into my car and stole my radio!"; "who broke into my account last night?";
    - break in
     
  12. Make submissive, obedient, or useful
    "The horse was tough to break"; "I broke in the new intern";
    - break in
     
  13. Fail to agree with; be in violation of; as of rules or patterns
    "This sentence breaks the rules of syntax";
    - violate, go against
     
  14. Surpass in excellence
    "break a record";
    - better
     
  15. Make known to the public information that was previously known only to a few people or that was meant to be kept a secret
    "he broke the news to her";
    - unwrap, disclose, let on, bring out, reveal, discover, expose, divulge, give away, let out, lay bare
     
  16. Come into being
    "light broke over the horizon"; "Voices broke in the air"
     
  17. Stop operating or functioning
    "The bus we travelled in broke down on the way to town"; "The coffee maker broke";
    - fail, go bad, give way, die, give out, conk out, go, break down
     
  18. Interrupt a continued activity
    - break away
     
  19. (military) make a rupture in the ranks of the enemy or one's own by quitting or fleeing
    "The ranks broke"
     
  20. Curl over and fall apart in surf or foam, of waves
    "The surf broke"
     
  21. Lessen in force or effect
    "break a fall";
    - dampen, damp, soften, weaken
     
  22. Be broken in
    "If the new teacher won't break, we'll add some stress"
     
  23. Come to an end
    "The heat wave finally broke yesterday"
     
  24. Vary or interrupt a uniformity or continuity
     
  25. Cause to give up a habit
    "She finally broke herself of smoking cigarettes"
     
  26. Give up
    "break cigarette smoking"
     
  27. Come forth or begin from a state of latency
    "The first winter storm broke over New York"
     
  28. Happen or take place
    "Things have been breaking pretty well for us in the past few months"
     
  29. Cause the failure or ruin of
    "His peccadilloes finally broke his marriage"; "This play will either make or break the playwright"
     
  30. Invalidate by judicial action
     
  31. Discontinue an association or relation; go different ways
    "The business partners broke over a tax question"; "The couple broke up after 25 years of marriage";
    - separate, part, split up, split, break up
     
  32. Assign to a lower position; reduce in rank
    - demote, bump, relegate, kick downstairs
     
  33. Reduce to bankruptcy
    "My daughter's fancy wedding is going to break me!";
    - bankrupt, ruin, smash
     
  34. Change directions suddenly
     
  35. Emerge from the surface of a body of water
    "The whales broke"
     
  36. Break down, literally or metaphorically
    "The dam broke";
    - collapse, fall in, cave in, give, give way, founder
     
  37. Do a break dance
    "Kids were break-dancing at the street corner";
    - break dance, break-dance
     
  38. Exchange for smaller units of money
    "I had to break a $100 bill just to buy the candy"
     
  39. Destroy the completeness of a set of related items
    "The book dealer would not break the set";
    - break up
     
  40. (billiards) make the opening shot that scatters the balls
     
  41. Separate from a clinch, in boxing
    "The referee broke the boxers"
     
  42. Go to pieces
    "The lawn mower finally broke";
    - wear, wear out, bust, fall apart
     
  43. Break a piece from a whole
    "break a branch from a tree";
    - break off, snap off
     
  44. Become punctured or penetrated
    "The skin broke"
     
  45. Pierce or penetrate
    "The blade broke her skin"
     
  46. Be released or become known; of news
    "News of her death broke in the morning";
    - get out, get around
     
  47. Cease an action temporarily
    "let's break for lunch";
    - pause, intermit
     
  48. Interrupt the flow of current in
    "break a circuit"
     
  49. Undergo breaking
    "The simple vowels broke in many Germanic languages"
     
  50. Find a flaw in
    "break an alibi"; "break down a proof"
     
  51. Find the solution or key to
    "break the code"
     
  52. Change suddenly from one tone quality or register to another
    "Her voice broke to a whisper when she started to talk about her children"
     
  53. Happen
    "These political movements break from time to time";
    - recrudesce, develop
     
  54. Become fractured; break or crack on the surface only
    "The glass broke when it was heated";
    - crack, check
     
  55. Crack; of the male voice in puberty
    "his voice is breaking--he should no longer sing in the choir"
     
  56. Fall sharply
    "stock prices broke"
     
  57. Fracture a bone of
    "I broke my foot while playing hockey";
    - fracture
     
  58. Diminish or discontinue abruptly
    "The patient's fever broke last night"
     
  59. Weaken or destroy in spirit or body
     
  60. Yield information under interrogation or torture
    "They managed to break him on the third day";
    - crack
     
  61. Successfully decipher a code
    - crack
Noun: break  breyk
  1. Some abrupt occurrence that interrupts an ongoing activity
    "there was a break in the action when a player was hurt";
    - interruption
     
  2. An unexpected piece of good luck
    "he finally got his big break";
    - good luck, happy chance
     
  3. (geology) a crack in the earth's crust resulting from the displacement of one side with respect to the other
    "they built it right over a geological break";
    - fault, faulting, geological fault, shift, fracture
     
  4. A personal or social separation (as between opposing factions)
    "they hoped to avoid a break in relations";
    - rupture, breach, severance, rift, falling out
     
  5. A pause from doing something (as work)
    "we took a 10-minute break";
    - respite, recess, time out
     
  6. The act of breaking something
    "the break was unavoidable";
    - breakage, breaking
     
  7. A time interval during which there is a temporary cessation of something
    - pause, intermission, interruption, suspension
     
  8. Breaking of hard tissue such as bone
    "the break seems to have been caused by a fall";
    - fracture
     
  9. The occurrence of breaking
    "the break in the dam threatened the valley"
     
  10. An abrupt change in the tone or register of the voice (as at puberty or due to emotion)
    "then there was a break in her voice"
     
  11. The opening shot that scatters the balls in billiards or pool
     
  12. (tennis) a score consisting of winning a game when your opponent was serving
    "he was up two breaks in the second set";
    - break of serve
     
  13. An act of delaying or interrupting the continuity
    "it was presented without commercial breaks";
    - interruption, disruption, gap
     
  14. A sudden dash
    "he made a break for the open door"
     
  15. Any frame in which a bowler fails to make a strike or spare
    "the break in the eighth frame cost him the match";
    - open frame
     
  16. An escape from jail
    "the break was carefully planned";
    - breakout, jailbreak, gaolbreak, prisonbreak, prison-breaking

Sounds like: brake

Derived forms: breaking, broke, breaks, broken

See also: break away, break down, break off, break out, break through, break up, fall

Type of: accident, alter, alteration, annul, appear, assign, avoid, become, blunt, break loose, break up, breakup, cease, chance event, change, change integrity, change of integrity, change state, cleft, come about, come forth, commute, convert, crack, crevice, crumble, cut and run, cut off, damage, dance, dash, deaden, decay, decrease, delay, delegate, depute, designate, destroy, detach, detachment, dilapidate, diminish, diphthongise [Brit], diphthongize, discontinue, disperse, disrespect, disrupt, dissipate, disunite, divide, domesticate, domesticise [Brit], domesticize, emerge, end, escape, exceed, exchange, express emotion, express feelings, fall, fall out, figure out, finish, fissure, flee, flight, fly, fortuity, get, get away, give up, go, go on, hap, happen, happening, harm, holdup, hurt, impoverish, injure, injury, interrupt, interval, intrude, invalidate, lay off, lessen, lick, modification, modify, natural event, nullify, occur, occurrence, occurrent, outdo, outgo [archaic], outmatch, outperform, outstrip, part, pass, pass off, pause, penetrate, perforate, puzzle out, quash, quit, reclaim, ruin, scatter, scissure, score, separate, separation, shift, shoot, shot, solve, spifflicate, spiflicate, spread out, sprint, stop, stroke, surcease [archaic], surmount, surpass, switch, take flight, take place, tame, tell, terminate, time interval, trauma, trespass, trip the light fantastic, trip the light fantastic toe, turn, unriddle, vary, void, weaken, work, work out, wound

Antonym: keep, make, repair

Part of: billiards, pocket billiards, pool

Encyclopedia: Break, Break, Break