Definition of


  1. (noun, act) an escape from jail
  2. (noun, act) any frame in which a bowler fails to make a strike or spare
  3. (noun, act) a sudden dash
  4. (noun, act) the act of breaking something
  5. (noun, act) an act of delaying or interrupting the continuity
    there was a gap in his account
  6. (noun, act) (tennis) a score consisting of winning a game when your opponent was serving
  7. (noun, act) the opening shot that scatters the balls in billiards or pool
  8. (noun, act) a pause from doing something (as work)
    he took time out to recuperate
  9. (noun, event) an abrupt change in the tone or register of the voice (as at puberty or due to emotion)
  10. (noun, event) a personal or social separation (as between opposing factions)
  11. (noun, event) an unexpected piece of good luck
  12. (noun, event) the occurrence of breaking
  13. (noun, event) some abrupt occurrence that interrupts an ongoing activity
    there was a break in the action when a player was hurt
  14. (noun, object) (geology) a crack in the earth's crust resulting from the displacement of one side with respect to the other
    he studied the faulting of the earth's crust
  15. (noun, state) breaking of hard tissue such as bone
    the break seems to have been caused by a fall
  16. (noun, time) a time interval during which there is a temporary cessation of something
  17. (verb, body) weaken or destroy in spirit or body
    a man broken by the terrible experience of near-death
  18. (verb, body) diminish or discontinue abruptly
  19. (verb, body) fracture a bone of
  20. (verb, change) fall sharply
  21. (verb, change) make submissive, obedient, or useful
    I broke in the new intern
  22. (verb, change) be broken in
  23. (verb, change) crack; of the male voice in puberty
  24. (verb, change) render inoperable or ineffective
  25. (verb, change) become separated into pieces or fragments
    The freshly baked loaf fell apart
  26. (verb, change) destroy the integrity of; usually by force; cause to separate into pieces or fragments
    She broke the match
  27. (verb, change) become fractured; break or crack on the surface only
  28. (verb, change) happen
    These political movements recrudesce from time to time
  29. (verb, change) prevent completion
    break off the negotiations
  30. (verb, change) terminate
    break a lucky streak
    break the cycle of poverty
  31. (verb, change) lessen in force or effect
    break a fall
  32. (verb, change) stop operating or functioning
    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
  33. (verb, change) change suddenly from one tone quality or register to another
  34. (verb, change) come into being
    Voices broke in the air
  35. (verb, cognition) find the solution or key to
  36. (verb, cognition) find a flaw in
    break down a proof
  37. (verb, communication) undergo breaking
  38. (verb, communication) interrupt the flow of current in
  39. (verb, communication) cease an action temporarily
    let's break for lunch
  40. (verb, communication) 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 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
  41. (verb, communication) be released or become known; of news
  42. (verb, competition) surpass in excellence
    break a record
  43. (verb, contact) pierce or penetrate
  44. (verb, contact) become punctured or penetrated
  45. (verb, contact) break a piece from a whole
  46. (verb, contact) go to pieces
    The gears wore out
    The old chair finally fell apart completely
  47. (verb, contact) ruin completely
  48. (verb, contact) separate from a clinch, in boxing
  49. (verb, contact) make the opening shot that scatters the balls
  50. (verb, contact) destroy the completeness of a set of related items
  51. (verb, contact) exchange for smaller units of money
  52. (verb, emotion) force out or release suddenly and often violently something pent up
    erupt in anger
  53. (verb, motion) do a break dance
  54. (verb, motion) curl over and fall apart in surf or foam, of waves
  55. (verb, motion) break down, literally or metaphorically
    The business collapsed
    The dam broke
    The roof collapsed
    The wall gave in
    The roof finally gave under the weight of the ice
  56. (verb, motion) emerge from the surface of a body of water
  57. (verb, motion) scatter or part
  58. (verb, motion) make a rupture in the ranks of the enemy or one's own by quitting or fleeing
  59. (verb, motion) move away or escape suddenly
    Three inmates broke jail
    Nobody can break out--this prison is high security
  60. (verb, motion) change directions suddenly
  61. (verb, possession) reduce to bankruptcy
    The slump in the financial markets smashed him
  62. (verb, social) assign to a lower position; reduce in rank
    He was broken down to Sergeant
  63. (verb, social) discontinue an association or relation; go different ways
    The couple separated after 25 years of marriage
    My friend and I split up
  64. (verb, social) invalidate by judicial action
  65. (verb, social) interrupt a continued activity
  66. (verb, social) cause the failure or ruin of
    This play will either make or break the playwright
  67. (verb, social) act in disregard of laws, rules, contracts, or promises
    violate the basic laws or human civilization
    break a law
    break a promise
  68. (verb, social) enter someone's (virtual or real) property in an unauthorized manner, usually with the intent to steal or commit a violent act
    They broke into my car and stole my radio!
    who broke into my account last night?
  69. (verb, social) happen or take place
  70. (verb, stative) come forth or begin from a state of latency
  71. (verb, stative) fail to agree with; be in violation of; as of rules or patterns
  72. (verb, stative) give up
  73. (verb, stative) cause to give up a habit
  74. (verb, stative) vary or interrupt a uniformity or continuity
  75. (verb, stative) come to an end

via WordNet, Princeton University

Antonyms of Break

keep, make, repair

Alternate forms of Break

Derivations: break, breakable, breakage, breaker

Hyponyms: abatement, abruption, babble, babble out, barracking, betray, bewray, blab, blab out, blackout, blackwash, blow, blow out, blunder, bog, bog down, boob, break, break apart, break away, break down, break in, break off, break open, break short, break up, break with, breaking off, breathe, buckle, burn out, burst, bust, caesura, capillary fracture, catch one's breath, chip, chipping, closed fracture, come out, come out of the closet, comminuted fracture, complete fracture, compound fracture, compression fracture, confide, conflict, contravene, crack, cracking, crash, crumple, crush, cut off, cut short, cut-in, damp, dampen, dash, dead air, deaden, deafen, delay, depressed fracture, disassociate, disjoint, dislocation, displaced fracture, disrupt, disruption, dissociate, disunify, disunite, divorce, drop the ball, eclipse, fast break, fatigue fracture, flop, fly in the face of, fly in the teeth of, fracture, fragment, fragmentise, fragmentize, fray, frazzle, freeze, give the axe, give the bounce, give the gate, go down, go off, goof, hairline fracture, halftime, heckling, hiatus, hold, hold on, impacted fracture, implode, inclined fault, incomplete fracture, infringe, insert, interjection, interpellation, interpolation, interposition, interrupt, intrude, ladder, lapse, leak, leak out, let the cat out of the bag, letup, lull, malfunction, misfire, misfunction, muckrake, occultation, open fracture, out, peach, postponement, punctuation, puncture, reduce, relief, reprieve, respite, rest, rest period, reveal, run, run afoul, rupture, schism, secede, shatter, shattering, sideline, simple fracture, sin, sing, sink, slide down, slump, smash, smashing, snap, spill the beans, splinter, splintering, split, split up, spring, spring break, stop, stress fracture, strike-slip fault, suspend, suspension, take a breather, take five, take ten, talk, tattle, time lag, time-out, transgress, trespass, wait

Hypernyms: accident, alter, alteration, annul, appear, assign, avoid, become, blunt, break, break loose, break up, breakup, cave in, cease, chance event, change, change integrity, change of integrity, change state, cleft, collapse, come about, come forth, commute, convert, crack, crevice, crumble, cut off, damage, dance, dash, deaden, decay, decrease, delay, delegate, depute, designate, destroy, detach, detachment, dilapidate, diminish, diphthongise, diphthongize, discontinue, disperse, disrespect, disrupt, dissipate, disunite, divide, domesticate, domesticise, domesticize, emerge, end, escape, exceed, exchange, express emotion, express feelings, fall, fall in, fall out, figure out, finish, fissure, flee, flight, fly, fortuity, founder, get, get away, give, give up, give way, 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, 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, split, split up, spread out, sprint, stop, stroke, surmount, surpass, switch, take flight, take place, tame, tell, terminate, time interval, trauma, trespass, trip the light fantastic, trip the light fantastic toe, turn, vary, void, weaken, work, work out, wound

Origin of the word Break

  1. O.E. brecan "to break, shatter, burst; destroy" (class IV strong verb; past tense br?c, pp. brocen), from P.Gmc. *brekan (cf. O.Fris. breka, Du. breken, O.H.G. brehhan, Ger. brechen, Goth. brikan), from PIE base *bhreg- "to break" (see fraction). Most modern senses were in O.E. Meaning "to disclose" is from m… more
  2. c.1300, "act of breaking," from break (v.). Sense of "short interval between spells of work (originally between lessons at school) is from 1861. Meaning "stroke of luck" is attested by 1911, probably an image from billiards (where the break that starts the game is attested from 1865). Meaning "stroke of mercy" is from 1914. Musical sense, "improvised passage, solo" is at… more

via Online Etymology Dictionary, ©2001 Douglas Harper

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