Definitions for: Break

[n] an escape from jail; "the breakout was carefully planned"
[n] any frame in which a bowler fails to make a strike or spare; "the break in the eighth frame cost him the match"
[n] a sudden dash; "he made a break for the open door"
[n] the act of breaking something; "the breakage was unavoidable"
[n] an act of delaying or interrupting the continuity; "it was presented without commercial breaks"
[n] (tennis) a score consisting of winning a game when your opponent was serving; "he was up two breaks in the second set"
[n] the opening shot that scatters the balls in billiards or pool
[n] a pause from doing something (as work); "we took a 10-minute break"; "he took time out to recuperate"
[n] a personal or social separation (as between opposing factions); "they hoped to avoid a break in relations"
[n] an unexpected piece of good luck; "he finally got his big break"
[n] the occurrence of breaking; "the break in the dam threatened the valley"
[n] some abrupt occurrence that interrupts; "the telephone is an annoying interruption"; "there was a break in the action when a player was hurt"
[n] (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 fault"
[n] breaking of hard tissue such as bone; "it was a nasty fracture"; "the break seems to have been caused by a fall"
[n] a time interval during which there is a temporary cessation of something
[v] weaken or destroy in spirit or body; "For a hero loves the world till it breaks him"--Yeats
[v] come into being; "light broke over the horizon"; "Voices broke in the air"
[v] diminish or discontinue abruptly; "The patient's fever broke last night"
[v] fracture a bone of; "I broke my foot while playing hockey"
[v] fall sharply; "stock prices broke"
[v] make submissive, obedient, or useful, as of wild animals or new items; also used metaphorically of people; "The horse was tough to break"; "I broke in the new intern"
[v] be broken in; "If the new teacher won't break, we'll add some stress"
[v] of the male voice in puberty; "his voice is breaking--he should no longer sing in the choir"
[v] render inoperable or ineffective; "You broke the alarm clock when you took it apart!"
[v] become separated into pieces or fragments; "The figurine broke"; "The freshly baked loaf fell apart"
[v] destroy the integrity of; usually by force; cause to separate into pieces or fragments; "He broke the glass plate"; "She broke the match"
[v] become fractured; break or crack on the surface only; "The glass cracked when it was heated"
[v] happen, as of an event; "Report the news as it develops"; "These political movements recrudesce from time to time"
[v] prevent completion; "stop the project"; "break the silence"
[v] stop and wait, as if awaiting further instructions or developments; "Hold on a moment!"; "We broke at noon"
[v] end prematurely; "She interrupted her pregnancy"; "break a lucky streak"
[v] lessen in force or effect; "soften a shock"; "break a fall"
[v] stop operating or functioning; "The engine finally went"; "The car died on the road"; "The bus we travelled in broke down on the way to town"; "The coffee maker broke"; "The engine failed on the way to town"; "her eyesight went after the accident"
[v] change suddenly from one tone quality or register to another; "Her voice broke to a whisper when she started to talk about her children"
[v] find the solution or key to; "break the code"
[v] find a flaw in; "break an alibi"
[v] undergo breaking; "The simple vowels broke in many Germanic languages"
[v] interrupt the flow of current in; "break a circuit"
[v] cease an action temporarily; "We pause for station identification"; "let's break for lunch"
[v] make known to the public information that was previously known only to a few people or that was meant to be kept a secret; "The auction house would not disclose the price at which the van Gogh had sold"; "The actress won't reveal how old she is"; "bring out the truth"; "he broke the news to her"
[v] be released or become known; of news; "News of her death broke in the morning"
[v] surpass in excellence; "She bettered her own record"; "break a record"
[v] divide into pieces, as by bending or cutting; "break the loaf of bread"; "break the crackers"
[v] pierce or penetrate; "The blade broke her skin"
[v] become punctured or penetrated; "The skin broke"
[v] pierce the surface of; "The fish broke the water"
[v] break a piece from a whole; "break a branch from a tree"
[v] go to pieces; "The lawn mower finally broke"; "The gears wore out"; "The old chair finally fell apart completely"
[v] ruin completely; "He busted my radio!"
[v] separate from a clinch, in boxing; "The referee broke the boxers"
[v] make the opening shot that scatters the balls, in billiards or pool
[v] destroy the completeness of a set of related items; "The book dealer would not break the set"
[v] exchange for smaller units of money; "I had to break a $100 bill just to buy the candy"
[v] force out or release suddenly and often violently something pent up; "break into tears"; "erupt in anger"
[v] do a break dance; "Kids were break-dancing at the street corner"
[v] curl over and fall apart in surf or foam, of waves; "The surf broke"
[v] break down, literally or metaphorically; "The wall collapsed"; "The business collapsed"; "The dam broke"; "The roof collapsed"; "The wall gave in"; "The roof finally gave under the weight of the ice"
[v] emerge from the surface, as of fish in water; "The whales broke"
[v] scatter or part; "The clouds broke after the heavy downpour"
[v] make a rupture in the ranks of the enemy or one's own by quitting or fleeing (military usage); "The ranks broke"
[v] move away or escape suddenly; "The horses broke from the stable"; "Three inmates broke jail"
[v] change directions suddenly
[v] reduce to bankruptcy; "My daughter's fancy wedding is going to break me!"
[v] assign to a lower position; reduce in rank; "She was demoted because she always speaks up"
[v] discontinue an association or relation; go different ways; "The business partners broke over a tax question"; "The couple separated after 25 years of marriage"; "My friend and I split up"
[v] stop or interrupt; "He broke the engagement"; "We had to break our plans for a trip to China"
[v] invalidate by judicial action; "The will was broken"
[v] interrupt a continued activity; "She had broken with the traditional patterns"
[v] cause the failure or ruin of; "His peccadilloes finally broke his marriage"; "This play will either make or break the playwright"
[v] act in disregard of laws and rules; "offend all laws of humanity"; "violate the basic laws or human civilization"; "break a law"
[v] enter someone's 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!"
[v] happen or take place; "Things have been breaking pretty well for us in the past few months" (informal)
[v] come forth or begin from a state of latency; "The first winter storm broke over New York"
[v] fail to agree with; be in violation of; as of rules or patterns; "He violated the agreement to stay away from his ex-wife"; "You are breaking the law!"
[v] give up; "break cigarette smoking"
[v] cause to give up a habit; "She finally broke herself of smoking cigarettes"
[v] vary or interrupt a uniformity or continuity; "The flat plain was broken by sharply mesas"
[v] come to an end; "The heat wave finally broke yesterday"

Webster (1913) Definition: Break, v. t. [imp. broke, (Obs. Brake); p. p.
Broken, (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,
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.

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

3. To lay open, as a purpose; to disclose, divulge, or

Katharine, break thy mind to me. --Shak.

4. To infringe or violate, as an obligation, law, or promise.

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

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.

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

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

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

8. To shatter to pieces; to reduce to fragments.

The victim broke in pieces the musical instruments
with which he had solaced the hours of captivity.

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

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

11. To weaken or impair, as health, spirit, or mind.

An old man, broken with the storms of state.

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

I'll rather leap down first, and break your fall.

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.

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.

Why, then thou canst not break her to the lute?

15. To destroy the financial credit of; to make bankrupt; to

With arts like these rich Matho, when he speaks,
Attracts all fees, and little lawyers breaks.

16. To destroy the official character and standing of; to
cashier; to dismiss.

I see a great officer broken. --Swift.

Note: With prepositions or adverbs:

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

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
(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.]

Note: With an immediate object:

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 cover, to burst forth from a protecting
concealment, as game when hunted.

To break a deer or 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

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

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.

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

Break, v. i.
1. To come apart or divide into two or more pieces, usually
with suddenness and violence; to part; to burst asunder.

2. To open spontaneously, or by pressure from within, as a
bubble, a tumor, a seed vessel, a bag.

Else the bottle break, and the wine runneth out.
--Math. ix.

3. To burst forth; to make its way; to come to view; to
appear; to dawn.

The day begins to break, and night is fled. --Shak.

And from the turf a fountain broke, and gurgled at
our feet. --Wordsworth.

4. To burst forth violently, as a storm.

The clouds are still above; and, while I speak, A
second deluge o'er our head may break. --Dryden.

5. To open up; to be scattered; to be dissipated; as, the
clouds are breaking.

At length the darkness begins to break. --Macaulay.

6. To become weakened in constitution or faculties; to lose
health or strength.

See how the dean begins to break; Poor gentleman! he
droops apace. --Swift.

7. To be crushed, or overwhelmed with sorrow or grief; as, my
heart is breaking.

8. To fall in business; to become bankrupt.

He that puts all upon adventures doth oftentimes
break, and come to poverty. --Bacn.

9. To make an abrupt or sudden change; to change the gait;
as, to break into a run or gallop.

10. To fail in musical quality; as, a singer's voice breaks
when it is strained beyond its compass and a tone or note
is not completed, but degenerates into an unmusical sound
instead. Also, to change in tone, as a boy's voice at

11. To fall out; to terminate friendship.

To break upon the score of danger or expense is to
be mean and narrow-spirited. --Collier.

Note: With prepositions or adverbs:

To break away, to disengage one's self abruptly; to come or
go away against resistance.

Fear me not, man; I will not break away. --Shak.

To break down.
(a) To come down by breaking; as, the coach broke down.
(b) To fail in any undertaking.

He had broken down almost at the outset.

To break forth, to issue; to come out suddenly, as sound,
light, etc. ``Then shall thy light break forth as the
morning.'' --Isa. lviii. 8;

Note: often with into in expressing or giving vent to one's
feelings. ``Break forth into singing, ye mountains.''
--Isa. xliv. 23.

To break from, to go away from abruptly.

This radiant from the circling crowd he broke.

To break into, to enter by breaking; as, to break into a

To break in upon, to enter or approach violently or
unexpectedly. ``This, this is he; softly awhile; let us
not break in upon him.'' --Milton.

To break loose.
(a) To extricate one's self forcibly. ``Who would not,
finding way, break loose from hell?'' --Milton.
(b) To cast off restraint, as of morals or propriety.

To break off.
(a) To become separated by rupture, or with suddenness
and violence.
(b) To desist or cease suddenly. ``Nay, forward, old man;
do not break off so.'' --Shak.

To break off from, to desist from; to abandon, as a habit.

To break out.
(a) To burst forth; to escape from restraint; to appear
suddenly, as a fire or an epidemic. ``For in the
wilderness shall waters break out, and stream in the
desert.'' --Isa. xxxv. 6
(b) To show itself in cutaneous eruptions; -- said of a
(c) To have a rash or eruption on the akin; -- said of a

To break over, to overflow; to go beyond limits.

To break up.
(a) To become separated into parts or fragments; as, the
ice break up in the rivers; the wreck will break up
in the next storm.
(b) To disperse. ``The company breaks up.'' --I. Watts.

To break upon, to discover itself suddenly to; to dawn

To break with.
(a) To fall out; to sever one's relations with; to part
friendship. ``It can not be the Volsces dare break
with us.'' --Shak. ``If she did not intend to marry
Clive, she should have broken with him altogether.''
(b) To come to an explanation; to enter into conference;
to speak. [Obs.] ``I will break with her and with her
father.'' --Shak.

Break ( ), n. [See Break, v. t., and cf.
Brake (the instrument), Breach, Brack a crack.]
1. An opening made by fracture or disruption.

2. An interruption of continuity; change of direction; as, a
break in a wall; a break in the deck of a ship.
(a) (Arch.) A projection or recess from the face of a
(b) (Elec.) An opening or displacement in the circuit,
interrupting the electrical current.

3. An interruption; a pause; as, a break in friendship; a
break in the conversation.

4. An interruption in continuity in writing or printing, as
where there is an omission, an unfilled line, etc.

All modern trash is Set forth with numerous breaks
and dashes. --Swift.

5. The first appearing, as of light in the morning; the dawn;
as, the break of day; the break of dawn.

6. A large four-wheeled carriage, having a straight body and
calash top, with the driver's seat in front and the
footman's behind.

7. A device for checking motion, or for measuring friction.
See Brake, n. 9 & 10.

8. (Teleg.) See Commutator.

Synonyms: bankrupt, better, breach, breach, break dance, break in, break in, break of serve, break off, break off, break up, breakage, break-dance, breaking, breakout, bring out, bump, burst, bust, check, come apart, damp, dampen, demote, develop, disclose, discontinue, discover, disruption, divulge, erupt, expose, fall apart, fall apart, falling out, fault, fracture, fracture, fracture, gaolbreak, gap, geological fault, give away, go against, go against, good luck, happy chance, hold on, impart, infract, intermission, intermit, interruption, interruption, interruption, jailbreak, kick downstairs, let on, let out, offend, open frame, part, pause, pause, prisonbreak, prison-breaking, recess, recrudesce, relegate, respite, reveal, rift, ruin, rupture, separate, separate, severance, shift, snap off, soften, split, split up, split up, stop, suspension, time out, transgress, violate, violate, weaken, wear, wear out

Antonyms: advance, bushel, conform to, doctor, elevate, fix, furbish up, kick upstairs, make, mend, promote, raise, repair, restore, touch on, upgrade

See Also: abatement, abruption, accident, alter, alter, analyse, analyze, annul, appear, assign, avoid, babble, babble out, barracking, become, betray, bewray, billiards, blab, blab out, blackout, blackwash, blow, blow, blow out, blunder, blunt, bog, bog down, boob, break, break, break, break apart, break apart, break away, break away, break down, break loose, break open, break out, break short, break through, break up, break up, break up, break with, breaking off, breakup, breathe, buckle, bump off, burn out, burst, bust, bust up, caesura, call off, cancel, carve up, catch one's breath, cave in, cease, chance event, change, change, change, change, change integrity, change of integrity, change state, chip, chip, chip off, chipping, cleft, closed fracture, collapse, come about, come about, come forth, come off, come out, come out of the closet, come through, comminuted fracture, commute, complete fracture, compound fracture, compression fracture, confide, conflict, contravene, convert, crack, crack, crack, cracking, crash, crash, crevice, crumble, crumple, crush, cut off, cut off, cut off, cut short, damage, dance, dash, dash, deaden, deafen, decay, decompose, decrease, decrease, delapidate, delay, delay, delegate, Denali Fault, depressed fracture, depute, designate, destroy, destroy, detach, detachment, diminish, diminish, diphthongise, diphthongize, disassemble, disassociate, discontinue, disjoint, dislocation, dismantle, dispatch, disperse, displaced fracture, disrespect, disrupt, disrupt, disruption, dissect, dissever, dissipate, dissociate, disunify, disunite, disunite, divide, divide, divide, divorce, domesticate, domesticise, domesticize, eclipse, emerge, end, end, erupt, escape, escape, exceed, exchange, express emotion, express feelings, fall, fall, fall in, fastbreak, fatigue fracture, fault line, figure out, finish, fissure, flee, flight, flop, fly, fortuity, founder, fracture, fracture, fragment, fragmentise, fragmentize, fray, frazzle, freeze, get, get around, get away, get out, give, give up, give way, go down, go off, go on, go on, goof, halftime, hap, hap, happen, happen, happening, harm, heckling, hiatus, hit, hold, holdup, hurt, impacted fracture, implode, impoverish, inclined fault, incomplete fracture, infringe, injury, interjection, interpellation, interpolation, interposition, interrupt, interrupt, interval, intrude, invalidate, knap, ladder, lapse, lay off, leak, leak out, lessen, lessen, letup, lick, lull, malfunction, misfire, misfunction, muckrake, murder, natural event, nullify, occultation, occur, occur, occurrence, open fracture, out, outdo, outgo, outmatch, outstrip, part, pass, pass, pass off, pass off, pause, peach, penetrate, perforate, pierce, pocket billiards, polish off, pool, postponement, punctuation, puncture, puzzle out, quash, quit, reclaim, reduce, relief, remove, reprieve, respite, respite, rest, rest, rest period, ruin, ruin, ruin, run, run afoul, rupture, San Andreas Fault, scatter, scissure, score, secede, separate, separation, sever, shatter, shattering, shift, shift, shoot, shot, simple fracture, sin, sin, sing, sink, slay, slide down, slump, smash, smashing, snap, solve, splinter, splintering, split, spread out, spring, sprint, stop, stress fracture, strike-slip fault, stroke, surmount, surpass, suspend, suspension, switch, switch, take a breather, take apart, take five, take flight, take place, take place, take ten, talk, tame, tattle, tell, terminate, terminate, time interval, time lag, time-out, transgress, trauma, trespass, trespass, trip the light fantastic, trip the light fantastic toe, turn, vary, void, wait, weaken, wear away, wear off, whittle away, whittle down, work, work out, wrack, wreck

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