break */*/*/

I UK [breɪk] / US verb
Word forms "break":
present tense I/you/we/they break he/she/it breaks present participle breaking past tense broke UK [brəʊk] / US [broʊk] past participle broken UK [ˈbrəʊkən] / US [ˈbroʊkən]
1) [transitive] to make something separate into two or more pieces, for example by hitting or dropping it

People were throwing stones and several windows were broken.

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 the branches to prevent them from breaking.

break into:

The glass slipped from her hand and broke into a dozen pieces.

b) [intransitive/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/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)
a) [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.

b) 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)
a) [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.

b) [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 could find out nothing about him.

a) [transitive] to publish or broadcast a news story for the first time

The Daily Mirror 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

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

The day broke grey and dull.

9)
a) [intransitive] if a storm breaks, it starts
b) if the weather breaks, it changes unexpectedly, and usually becomes worse

The long hot spell finally broke.

10)
a) [intransitive] if a boy's voice breaks, it becomes deeper and he starts to sound like a man
b) 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 someone's serve/service — in tennis, to win a game in which your opponent is serving

Phrasal verbs:
See:

II UK [breɪk] / US noun
Word forms "break":
singular break plural breaks
1) [countable] 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/tea/coffee etc break:

They usually went shopping in their lunch break.

a) [countable, 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 travelling.

b) [countable] a short holiday

a weekend break for two in Florence

c) [countable, usually singular] British a period of time when most people do not go to work

the Easter/Christmas break

d) [uncountable] British a period of time between lessons when students and teachers can eat, rest, or play. The American word is recess

They always play together during break.

2)
a) [countable] a pause between television or radio programmes, especially when advertisements are broadcast

We'll be back after the break.

b) [singular] British informal a pause in a sports match

the half-time break

3) [countable] a time at which one thing ends completely and a new thing begins

Blair represented a decisive break after eighteen years of Conservative government.

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

See:
4) [countable] a space in something such as a line of traffic

He waited for ages for a break in the traffic.

5)
a) [countable] a place where something is broken

There was a small break at the corner of the frame.

b) a place where a bone is broken
6) [countable, usually singular] an opportunity that helps you to be successful

a lucky break

Kiefer's big break came with the film Stand By Me.

7) [countable, usually singular] a sudden lack of control in someone's voice that shows they are upset
8) [countable] in tennis, a game that someone wins when their opponent is serving
9)
a) [countable] in snooker or billiards, a period of time when a player continues to hit the ball successfully
b) the number of points a player scores during this period

make a break (for something) — to suddenly run away from someone in order to escape

He made a break for the exit.


English dictionary. 2014.

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 — 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 — ► 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 — [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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