AskDefine | Define break

Dictionary Definition



1 some abrupt occurrence that interrupts; "the telephone is an annoying interruption"; "there was a break in the action when a player was hurt" [syn: interruption]
2 an unexpected piece of good luck; "he finally got his big break" [syn: 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" [syn: fault, geological fault, shift, fracture]
4 a personal or social separation (as between opposing factions); "they hoped to avoid a break in relations" [syn: 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" [syn: respite, recess, time out]
6 the act of breaking something; "the breakage was unavoidable" [syn: breakage, breaking]
7 a time interval during which there is a temporary cessation of something [syn: 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" [syn: fracture]
9 the occurrence of breaking; "the break in the dam threatened the valley"
10 the opening shot that scatters the balls in billiards or pool
11 (tennis) a score consisting of winning a game when your opponent was serving; "he was up two breaks in the second set" [syn: break of serve]
12 an act of delaying or interrupting the continuity; "it was presented without commercial breaks" [syn: interruption, disruption, gap]
13 a sudden dash; "he made a break for the open door"
14 any frame in which a bowler fails to make a strike or spare; "the break in the eighth frame cost him the match" [syn: open frame]
15 an escape from jail; "the breakout was carefully planned" [syn: breakout, jailbreak, gaolbreak, prisonbreak, prison-breaking]


1 terminate; "She interrupted her pregnancy"; "break a lucky streak"; "break the cycle of poverty" [syn: interrupt]
2 become separated into pieces or fragments; "The figurine broke"; "The freshly baked loaf fell apart" [syn: 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!" [syn: bust] [ant: repair]
6 act in disregard of laws and rules; "offend all laws of humanity"; "violate the basic laws or human civilization"; "break a law" [syn: 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" [syn: 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" [syn: burst, erupt]
10 prevent completion; "stop the project"; "break off the negociations" [syn: 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!" [syn: break in]
12 make submissive, obedient, or useful; "The horse was tough to break"; "I broke in the new intern" [syn: break in]
13 fail to agree with; be in violation of; as of rules or patterns; "This sentence violates the rules of syntax" [syn: violate, go against] [ant: conform to]
14 surpass in excellence; "She bettered her own record"; "break a record" [syn: 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" [syn: 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" [syn: 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" [syn: 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" [syn: 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" [ant: 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" [syn: 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 Sargeant" [syn: demote, bump, relegate, kick downstairs] [ant: promote]
33 reduce to bankruptcy; "My daughter's fancy wedding is going to break me!"; "The slump in the financial markets smashed him" [syn: 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" [syn: collapse, fall in, cave in, give, give way, founder]
37 do a break dance; "Kids were break-dancing at the street corner" [syn: 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" [syn: 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" [syn: wear, wear out, bust, fall apart]
43 break a piece from a whole; "break a branch from a tree" [syn: 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" [syn: get out, get around]
47 cease an action temporarily; "We pause for station identification"; "let's break for lunch" [syn: 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" [syn: recrudesce, develop]
54 become fractured; break or crack on the surface only; "The glass cracked when it was heated" [syn: crack, check]
55 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" [syn: 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" [also: broken, broke]

User Contributed Dictionary



etyl ang brecan. Compare Dutch breken, German brechen, and Gothic brikan. Cognate with Latin frangere. rfscript Gothic


  • , /bɹeɪk/, /breIk/
  • Rhymes with: -eɪk



  1. To end up in two or more pieces that can't easily be reassembled.
    If the vase falls to the floor, it might break.
  2. intransitive medicine Of a bone, to crack or fracture through a sudden physical strain, such as a collision.
    Don't slip and break your leg.
  3. To stop functioning properly or altogether.
    Don't break the fridge with your tools.
  4. To interrupt or cease one's work or occupation temporarily.
    Let's break for lunch.
  5. intransitive tennis To win a game as receiver.
  6. To make the first shot.
    Is it your or my turn to break?
  7. To cause to end up in two or more pieces.
    I am going to break your mask.
  8. Of a bone, to cause to crack under physical strain.
    Don't try to break his neck.
  9. Of a bone, to fracture accidentally.
    Don't break your fingers playing basketball.
  10. transitive ergative To cause to malfunction or stop working altogether.
    Did you two break the trolley by racing with it?
  11. To cause a person or animal to lose his/her/its will, usually obtained by means of torture.#: You have to break an elephant before you can use it as an animal of burden.
    America has used many forms of torture to break their POWs.
  12. To do that which is forbidden by (a rule or rules).
    When you go to Vancouver, promise me you won't break the law.
  13. intransitive of a water wave To collapse into surf, after arriving in shallow water.
  14. To design or use a powerful (yet legal) strategy that unbalances the game in a player's favor.
    Letting white have three extra queens would break chess.
  15. to disclose or make known an item of news etc
  16. In the context of "of a storm or spell of|_|weather|UK": to end
    The forecast says the hot weather will break by midweek

Usage notes

The sense relating to a spell of weather is most likely to be used after a period of persistent good or bad weather; it is rarely used to signify the end of changeable conditions.


intransitive: end up in two or more pieces that cannot easily be reassembled
intransitive: of a bone
intransitive: stop functioning properly or altogether
intransitive: interrupt or cease one's work or occupation temporarily
intransitive: tennis
intransitive: billiards
transitive: cause to end up in two or more pieces
transitive: of a bone, intentionally
transitive: of a bone, accidentally
transitive: cause to malfunction
transitive: cause a person or animal to lose his/her/its will
transitive: do that which is forbidden by (a rule or rules)
transitive: gaming slang: to design or make (a legal but unfair move)
transitive: media: to disclose or make known an item of news etc
UK, of a storm or spell of weather: to end


  1. An instance of breaking something into two pieces.
    The femur has a clean break and so should heal easily.
  2. A physical space that opens up in something or between two things.
    The sun came out in a break in the clouds.
  3. A rest or pause, usually from work.
    Let’s take a five-minute break.
  4. A game won by the receiving player or players (in case of a double).
  5. The first shot in a game of billiards
  6. The number of points scored by one player in one visit to the table
  7. Place where waves break (ie. pitch or spill forward creating white water).
    2005: The final break in the Greenmount area is Kirra Point. —
  8. A short section of music, often between verses, in which some performers stop while others continue.
    The fiddle break was amazing, it was a pity the singer came back in on the wrong note.
  9. a change; the end of a spell of persistent good or bad weather

Usage notes

  1. sense music The instruments that are named are the ones that carry on playing, for example a fiddle break implies that the fiddle is the most prominent instrument playing during the break.


instance of breaking something into two pieces
  • German: Bruch
  • Hebrew: שבירה (shvira)
  • Swedish: brott
physical space that opens up in something or between two things
rest or pause, usually from work
  • Czech: přestávka, pauza
  • Esperanto: paŭzi
  • Finnish: tauko
  • French: pause
  • German: Pause
  • Italian: pausa
  • Japanese: 休憩 (kyūkei)
  • Polish: przerwa
  • Russian: перерыв (p'e'rerýv)
  • Slovenian: odmor
  • Swedish: avbrott , rast , paus
in tennis
in billiards
in snooker
in surfing
UK, weather: a change



From break.


  • /bʁɛk/

Noun 1

break m|f
  1. estate (car)

Noun 2

  1. break (pause, holiday)
    C'est l'heure de faire un break.


Extensive Definition

To break is the act of damaging something.
Break may also refer to:
break in German: Break
break in Spanish: Break
break in French: Break
break in Hungarian: Törés
break in Dutch: Break
break in Polish: Break
break in Portuguese: Break

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

abeyance, about ship, about-face, abrade, abrasion, abscond, abysm, abyss, accidentality, acclimate, acclimatize, accommodate, accommodation, accustom, actuarial calculation, adapt, adaptation, adjust, adjustment, adventitiousness, agree to disagree, alienation, alter, alteration, ameliorate, amelioration, announce, apostasy, appear, apprentice, arrearage, arroyo, back and fill, bankrupt, bark, be at cross-purposes, be changed, be converted into, be poised, be renewed, be ruined, bear away, bear market, bear off, bear to starboard, bearish market, beat, beat about, beat down, become insolvent, become public, bed, bed down, befall, begin, bend, betide, betterment, billow, blemish, blessing, bloody, blooper, blow, boner, boo-boo, boot, bottom out, bounce, box canyon, box off, breach, breach of friendship, break, break away, break down, break forth, break ground, break in, break of, break off, break open, break out, break the ice, break through, break to harness, break up, break with, breakage, breakout, breath, breathe, breather, breathing place, breathing space, breathing spell, breathing time, breed, bridle, brighten, bring about, bring low, bring round, bring to terms, bring up, broken circuit, browbeat, brush, bulldoze, bully, bump, bunk, burglarize, burgle, burn, burn off, burst, burst forth, burst in, bust, buzz about, caesura, call a break, call time, can, cant, cant round, canyon, case harden, cashier, cast, cast about, castrate, casualness, cave, cave in, cavity, cease, cease-fire, cessation, chafe, chance, change, change course, change of heart, change the heading, changeableness, chap, chasm, cheapen, cheapening, check, checker, chimney, chink, chip, chop, chop and change, cigarette break, cipher, circuit, circuital field, circulate, clamp down on, clash, claw, cleavage, cleave, cleft, cleuch, closed circuit, clough, cocktail hour, coerce, coffee break, col, collapse, collide, comb, come about, come apart, come around, come forth, come off, come out, come round, come unstuck, commence, comminute, communicate, compel, complete circuit, concussion, condition, confirm, conflict, confound, confute, conk out, conquer, constructive change, continuity, contradict, contravene, controvert, conversion, convey, coulee, couloir, counter, cow, crack, crackle, cranny, crash, craze, crevasse, crevice, cripple, crumble, crumple, crush, cryptanalyze, cultivate, cure, curry, currycomb, cut, cut apart, cut off, cut prices, cwm, dash, daunt, dawn, day off, dead circuit, debilitate, decamp, decipher, declare a recess, decline, declining market, decompose, deconsecrate, decrypt, defalcation, defeat, defect, defection, deficiency, deficit, defile, deflate, deflation, defrock, defy, degenerate, degeneration, degenerative change, degrade, deliverance, delivery, dell, dement, demerit, demolish, demoralize, demote, depart, depart from, deplume, depose, depreciate, depreciation, deprive, despotize, destiny, destroy, detach, deteriorate, deterioration, dethrone, devaluate, devaluation, develop, deviate, deviation, differ, difference, dike, disaccord, disaccustom, disaffection, disagree, disarrange, disavow, disband, disbar, discipline, disclose, disconfirm, discontinuation, discontinue, discontinuity, discourage, discrown, disemploy, disengage, disenthrone, disfavor, disgrade, disintegrate, disjoin, dismiss, disobey, disperse, displace, displume, disregard, disrupt, disruption, dissent, dissolve, disturb, disunion, disunity, ditch, dive, diverge, divergence, diversification, diversify, diversion, diversity, divide, dividedness, division, divulge, do violence to, domesticate, domesticize, domineer, domineer over, donga, double a point, downgrade, downtime, draw, drench, drill, droop, drop, drum out, ease up, ebb and flow, educate, emerge, emergence, end, enforced respite, enslave, erupt, escape, escapism, establish, estrangement, evasion, evert, excavation, excommunicate, exercise, exfoliate, exhaust, expel, explode, extrication, fade, fail, faint, fall, fall in price, fall out, fall to pieces, falling-out, familiarize, fate, fault, faux, feed, fell, fetch about, fetch up, find vent, fire, fissure, fit, fitting, fix, fizzle out, flag, flash burn, flatten, flaw, flee, flight, flip-flop, flop, flout, fluke, flukiness, flume, fly, fly about, fodder, foil, fold, fold up, form, fortuitousness, fortuity, fortune, foster, found, fracture, fragment, fray, frazzle, freeing, fret, frustrate, furlough, furrow, gaffe, gall, galvanic circuit, gamble, gap, gape, gash, gentle, get about, get abroad, get afloat, get around, get exposure, get through, getaway, give away, give out, give the ax, give the gate, give up, give way, go, go about, go bankrupt, go broke, go downhill, go forth, go into receivership, go soft, go the rounds, go to pieces, go to pot, go to ruin, go under, go up, good fortune, good luck, gorge, gradual change, grind, grind down, groom, groove, grow bright, grow light, gulch, gulf, gully, gybe, habituate, half time, half-time intermission, halt, handle, hap, happenstance, happy chance, happy hour, harden, harness, haul around, have currency, heave, heave round, heedless hap, henpeck, hesitation, hiatus, hit the skids, hitch, hole, holiday, hot circuit, house-train, housebreak, how they fall, humble, humiliate, hurt, ignore, impart, impoverish, impropriety, improve, improvement, inaugurate, incise, incision, indecorum, indeterminacy, indeterminateness, infract, infringe, initiate, injure, injury, innovate, interfere, interim, interject, interlude, intermezzo, intermission, intermit, intermittence, interpose, interregnum, interrupt, interruption, interval, intervene, intimidate, intrude, inure, irregularity, issuance, issue, jailbreak, jangle, jar, jew down, jibe, jibe all standing, joint, jostle, keep down, keep under, kick, kick upstairs, kloof, knock off, lacerate, laceration, lack, lacuna, languish, lapse, lateral circuit, law of averages, lay off, layoff, leak, leakage, leave, leg, lesion, let go, let out, letup, liberation, lick into shape, lift, light, lighten, liquidate, litter, live circuit, look-in, loop, lord it over, lot, lower, lowering, luck, lucky break, lucky strike, lull, magnetic circuit, maim, make mincemeat of, make public, make redundant, manage, mark down, markdown, master, maul, meliorate, melioration, microcircuit, milk, mismatch, mismate, miss stays, missing link, mitigate, mitigation, moat, modification, modulate, modulation, moira, mortal wound, multiple circuit, multiple series, mutate, mutilate, mutilation, naturalize, need, negate, nose dive, nose-dive, notch, nullah, nurse, nurture, object, occasion, occur, off market, off-time, offend, omission, open, open rupture, opening, opportunity, oppress, orient, orientate, oust, out, outage, outlet, overawe, overbear, overcome, overmaster, override, overthrow, overwhelm, pare, parenthesis, pass, pass on, passage, path, pauper, pauperize, pause, peak, peg out, penetrate, pension, pension off, peter out, pierce, pine, plateau, plummet, plummeting, plunge, ply, point of repose, poop out, popple, practice, prepare, press heavy on, price cut, price fall, price reduction, principle of indeterminacy, printed circuit, prisonbreak, probability, problematicness, prostrate, puncture, purge, put about, put back, put down, put in tune, put to school, puzzle out, qualification, quell, quiet spell, radical change, raise, random sample, ravine, re-creation, read out of, ready, realignment, rear, rebut, recall of ambassadors, recess, redesign, reduce, reduction, reform, reformation, refute, rehearse, relax, release, relief, remaking, remission, remove, remove from office, rend, renewal, renounce, rent, replace, repress, repudiate, rescue, reshaping, resolve, respite, rest, resting point, restructuring, retire, retreating market, reveal, reversal, revival, revive, revivification, revolution, riddance, ride down, ride over, ride roughshod over, rift, rime, rip, rise, rise and fall, risk, rive, rob, roll, round a point, rub down, ruin, run, run of luck, rupture, sack, saddle, sag, sagging market, savage, scald, scale, scape, scatter, scend, schism, scissure, scorch, scotch, scrape, scratch, scuff, scuttle, seam, season, second-degree burn, see the light, send, send to school, separate forcibly, separation, serendipity, series multiple, set at defiance, set at naught, set naught by, set up, setting-free, sever, shard, shatter, shave, sheer, shift, shiver, short, short circuit, shortage, shot, show, shut down, sink, skin, slash, slew, slice, slit, slot, slump, smash, snap, snap the thread, soft market, solecism, sore, spell, splinter, split, sprain, spread, spread about, spread like wildfire, spring a leak, squeak, stab, stab wound, stand-down, start, statistical probability, stay, stick, stop, stop for breath, strain, streak of luck, strip, strip of office, strip of rank, stroke of luck, subdue, subjugate, sudden change, superannuate, suppress, surcease, surge, surplus, suspend, suspension, swell, swerve, swing round, swing the stern, switch, tack, take a break, take a recess, take a rest, take a turn, take five, take in hand, take ten, take the plunge, take time out, tame, tea break, tear, tell, ten, tend, terrorize, the breaks, theory of probability, third-degree burn, throw about, time, time off, time out, toss, total change, train, trample down, trample on, trample underfoot, trample upon, transgress, transition, transmit, transpire, trauma, traumatize, tread down, tread underfoot, tread upon, trench, trespass, trim, truce, turn, turn aside, turn back, turn into, turn off, turn out, turn over, turn the corner, turnabout, tyrannize, tyrannize over, ullage, uncertainty, uncertainty principle, unchurch, undergo a change, undermine, undulate, unevenness, unfold, unfrock, unman, unravel, unriddle, unsaddle, unseat, unthrone, upheaval, vacation, valley, vanquish, variation, variety, vary, vector field, veer, vent, violate, violent change, void, wadi, walk all over, walk over, want, wantage, warp, water, wave, weaken, wean, wear, wear away, wear out, wear ship, wear thin, weary, weigh heavy on, whatever comes, wilt, wind, wont, worsen, worsening, wound, wounds immedicable, wrench, yaw, yield, yoke
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