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Definition of 'break'


  1. some abrupt occurrence that interrupts an ongoing activity; "the telephone is an annoying interruption"; "there was a break in the action when a player was hurt"
       Synonyms: interruption
  2. an unexpected piece of good luck; "he finally got his big break"
       Synonyms: 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 fault"; "he studied the faulting of the earth's crust"
       Synonyms: fault faulting geological fault shift fracture
  4. a personal or social separation (as between opposing factions); "they hoped to avoid a break in relations"
       Synonyms: rupture breach severance rift falling out
  5. a pause from doing something (as work); "we took a 10-minute break"; "he took time out to recuperate"
       Synonyms: respite recess time out
  6. the act of breaking something; "the breakage was unavoidable"
       Synonyms: breakage breaking
  7. a time interval during which there is a temporary cessation of something
       Synonyms: pause intermission interruption suspension
  8. breaking of hard tissue such as bone; "it was a nasty fracture"; "the break seems to have been caused by a fall"
       Synonyms: 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"
       Synonyms: break of serve
  13. an act of delaying or interrupting the continuity; "it was presented without commercial breaks"; "there was a gap in his account"
       Synonyms: 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"
       Synonyms: open frame
  16. an escape from jail; "the breakout was carefully planned"
       Synonyms: breakout jailbreak gaolbreak prisonbreak prison-breaking


  1. terminate; "She interrupted her pregnancy"; "break a lucky streak"; "break the cycle of poverty"
       Synonyms: interrupt
  2. become separated into pieces or fragments; "The figurine broke"; "The freshly baked loaf fell apart"
       Synonyms: separate split up fall apart come apart
  3. destroy the integrity of; usually by force; cause to separate into pieces or fragments; "He broke the glass plate"; "She broke the match"
  4. render inoperable or ineffective; "You broke the alarm clock when you took it apart!"
  5. ruin completely; "He busted my radio!"
       Synonyms: bust
       Antonyms: repair mend fix bushel doctor furbish up restore touch on
  6. act in disregard of laws, rules, contracts, or promises; "offend all laws of humanity"; "violate the basic laws or human civilization"; "break a law"; "break a promise"
       Synonyms: transgress offend infract violate go against breach
       Antonyms: observe keep
  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"
       Synonyms: 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"; "erupt in anger"
       Synonyms: burst erupt
  10. prevent completion; "stop the project"; "break off the negotiations"
       Synonyms: break off discontinue stop
  11. 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!"
       Synonyms: break in
  12. make submissive, obedient, or useful; "The horse was tough to break"; "I broke in the new intern"
       Synonyms: break in
  13. fail to agree with; be in violation of; as of rules or patterns; "This sentence violates the rules of syntax"
       Synonyms: violate go against
       Antonyms: conform to
  14. surpass in excellence; "She bettered her own record"; "break a record"
       Synonyms: 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; "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"; "unwrap the evidence in the murder case"
       Synonyms: unwrap disclose let on bring out reveal discover expose divulge impart give away let out
  16. come into being; "light broke over the horizon"; "Voices broke in the air"
  17. 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"
       Synonyms: fail go bad give way die give out conk out go break down
  18. interrupt a continued activity; "She had broken with the traditional patterns"
       Synonyms: break away
  19. 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; "soften a shock"; "break a fall"
       Synonyms: 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; "The flat plain was broken by tall mesas"
  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"
       Antonyms: make
  30. invalidate by judicial action; "The will was broken"
  31. 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"
       Synonyms: separate part split up split break up
  32. assign to a lower position; reduce in rank; "She was demoted because she always speaks up"; "He was broken down to Sergeant"
       Synonyms: demote bump relegate kick downstairs
       Antonyms: promote upgrade advance kick upstairs raise elevate
  33. reduce to bankruptcy; "My daughter's fancy wedding is going to break me!"; "The slump in the financial markets smashed him"
       Synonyms: 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 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"
       Synonyms: collapse fall in cave in give give way founder
  37. do a break dance; "Kids were break-dancing at the street corner"
       Synonyms: 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"
       Synonyms: break up
  40. 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"; "The gears wore out"; "The old chair finally fell apart completely"
       Synonyms: wear wear out bust fall apart
  43. break a piece from a whole; "break a branch from a tree"
       Synonyms: 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"
       Synonyms: get out get around
  47. cease an action temporarily; "We pause for station identification"; "let's break for lunch"
       Synonyms: 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; "Report the news as it develops"; "These political movements recrudesce from time to time"
       Synonyms: recrudesce develop
  54. become fractured; break or crack on the surface only; "The glass cracked when it was heated"
       Synonyms: 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"
       Synonyms: fracture
  58. diminish or discontinue abruptly; "The patient's fever broke last night"
  59. weaken or destroy in spirit or body; "His resistance was broken"; "a man broken by the terrible experience of near-death"

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