What does Break mean?

Definitions for Break

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word Break.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. interruption, breaknoun

    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"

  2. break, good luck, happy chancenoun

    an unexpected piece of good luck

    "he finally got his big break"

  3. fault, faulting, geological fault, shift, fracture, breaknoun

    (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"

  4. rupture, breach, break, severance, rift, falling outnoun

    a personal or social separation (as between opposing factions)

    "they hoped to avoid a break in relations"

  5. respite, recess, break, time outnoun

    a pause from doing something (as work)

    "we took a 10-minute break"; "he took time out to recuperate"

  6. breakage, break, breakingnoun

    the act of breaking something

    "the breakage was unavoidable"

  7. pause, intermission, break, interruption, suspensionnoun

    a time interval during which there is a temporary cessation of something

  8. fracture, breaknoun

    breaking of hard tissue such as bone

    "it was a nasty fracture"; "the break seems to have been caused by a fall"

  9. breaknoun

    the occurrence of breaking

    "the break in the dam threatened the valley"

  10. breaknoun

    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. breaknoun

    the opening shot that scatters the balls in billiards or pool

  12. break, break of servenoun

    (tennis) a score consisting of winning a game when your opponent was serving

    "he was up two breaks in the second set"

  13. break, interruption, disruption, gapnoun

    an act of delaying or interrupting the continuity

    "it was presented without commercial breaks"; "there was a gap in his account"

  14. breaknoun

    a sudden dash

    "he made a break for the open door"

  15. open frame, breaknoun

    any frame in which a bowler fails to make a strike or spare

    "the break in the eighth frame cost him the match"

  16. break, breakout, jailbreak, gaolbreak, prisonbreak, prison-breakingverb

    an escape from jail

    "the breakout was carefully planned"

  17. interrupt, breakverb


    "She interrupted her pregnancy"; "break a lucky streak"; "break the cycle of poverty"

  18. break, separate, split up, fall apart, come apartverb

    become separated into pieces or fragments

    "The figurine broke"; "The freshly baked loaf fell apart"

  19. breakverb

    render inoperable or ineffective

    "You broke the alarm clock when you took it apart!"

  20. break, bustverb

    ruin completely

    "He busted my radio!"

  21. breakverb

    destroy the integrity of; usually by force; cause to separate into pieces or fragments

    "He broke the glass plate"; "She broke the match"

  22. transgress, offend, infract, violate, go against, breach, breakverb

    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"

  23. break, break out, break awayverb

    move away or escape suddenly

    "The horses broke from the stable"; "Three inmates broke jail"; "Nobody can break out--this prison is high security"

  24. breakverb

    scatter or part

    "The clouds broke after the heavy downpour"

  25. break, burst, eruptverb

    force out or release suddenly and often violently something pent up

    "break into tears"; "erupt in anger"

  26. break, break off, discontinue, stopverb

    prevent completion

    "stop the project"; "break off the negotiations"

  27. break in, breakverb

    enter someone's (virtual or real) 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!"; "who broke into my account last night?"

  28. break in, breakverb

    make submissive, obedient, or useful

    "The horse was tough to break"; "I broke in the new intern"

  29. violate, go against, breakverb

    fail to agree with; be in violation of; as of rules or patterns

    "This sentence violates the rules of syntax"

  30. better, breakverb

    surpass in excellence

    "She bettered her own record"; "break a record"

  31. unwrap, disclose, let on, bring out, reveal, discover, expose, divulge, break, give away, let outverb

    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"

  32. breakverb

    come into being

    "light broke over the horizon"; "Voices broke in the air"

  33. fail, go bad, give way, die, give out, conk out, go, break, break downverb

    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"

  34. break, break awayverb

    interrupt a continued activity

    "She had broken with the traditional patterns"

  35. breakverb

    make a rupture in the ranks of the enemy or one's own by quitting or fleeing

    "The ranks broke"

  36. breakverb

    curl over and fall apart in surf or foam, of waves

    "The surf broke"

  37. dampen, damp, soften, weaken, breakverb

    lessen in force or effect

    "soften a shock"; "break a fall"

  38. breakverb

    be broken in

    "If the new teacher won't break, we'll add some stress"

  39. breakverb

    come to an end

    "The heat wave finally broke yesterday"

  40. breakverb

    vary or interrupt a uniformity or continuity

    "The flat plain was broken by tall mesas"

  41. breakverb

    cause to give up a habit

    "She finally broke herself of smoking cigarettes"

  42. breakverb

    give up

    "break cigarette smoking"

  43. breakverb

    come forth or begin from a state of latency

    "The first winter storm broke over New York"

  44. breakverb

    happen or take place

    "Things have been breaking pretty well for us in the past few months"

  45. breakverb

    cause the failure or ruin of

    "His peccadilloes finally broke his marriage"; "This play will either make or break the playwright"

  46. breakverb

    invalidate by judicial action

    "The will was broken"

  47. separate, part, split up, split, break, break upverb

    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"

  48. demote, bump, relegate, break, kick downstairsverb

    assign to a lower position; reduce in rank

    "She was demoted because she always speaks up"; "He was broken down to Sergeant"

  49. bankrupt, ruin, break, smashverb

    reduce to bankruptcy

    "My daughter's fancy wedding is going to break me!"; "The slump in the financial markets smashed him"

  50. breakverb

    change directions suddenly

  51. breakverb

    emerge from the surface of a body of water

    "The whales broke"

  52. collapse, fall in, cave in, give, give way, break, founderverb

    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"

  53. break dance, break-dance, breakverb

    do a break dance

    "Kids were break-dancing at the street corner"

  54. breakverb

    exchange for smaller units of money

    "I had to break a $100 bill just to buy the candy"

  55. break, break upverb

    destroy the completeness of a set of related items

    "The book dealer would not break the set"

  56. breakverb

    make the opening shot that scatters the balls

  57. breakverb

    separate from a clinch, in boxing

    "The referee broke the boxers"

  58. break, wear, wear out, bust, fall apartverb

    go to pieces

    "The lawn mower finally broke"; "The gears wore out"; "The old chair finally fell apart completely"

  59. break, break off, snap offverb

    break a piece from a whole

    "break a branch from a tree"

  60. breakverb

    become punctured or penetrated

    "The skin broke"

  61. breakverb

    pierce or penetrate

    "The blade broke her skin"

  62. break, get out, get aroundverb

    be released or become known; of news

    "News of her death broke in the morning"

  63. pause, intermit, breakverb

    cease an action temporarily

    "We pause for station identification"; "let's break for lunch"

  64. breakverb

    interrupt the flow of current in

    "break a circuit"

  65. breakverb

    undergo breaking

    "The simple vowels broke in many Germanic languages"

  66. breakverb

    find a flaw in

    "break an alibi"; "break down a proof"

  67. breakverb

    find the solution or key to

    "break the code"

  68. breakverb

    change suddenly from one tone quality or register to another

    "Her voice broke to a whisper when she started to talk about her children"

  69. break, recrudesce, developverb


    "Report the news as it develops"; "These political movements recrudesce from time to time"

  70. crack, check, breakverb

    become fractured; break or crack on the surface only

    "The glass cracked when it was heated"

  71. breakverb

    crack; of the male voice in puberty

    "his voice is breaking--he should no longer sing in the choir"

  72. breakverb

    fall sharply

    "stock prices broke"

  73. fracture, breakverb

    fracture a bone of

    "I broke my foot while playing hockey"

  74. breakverb

    diminish or discontinue abruptly

    "The patient's fever broke last night"

  75. breakverb

    weaken or destroy in spirit or body

    "His resistance was broken"; "a man broken by the terrible experience of near-death"


  1. breaknoun

    An instance of breaking something into two pieces.

    The femur has a clean break and so should heal easily.

  2. breaknoun

    A physical space that opens up in something or between two things.

  3. breaknoun

    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.

  4. breaknoun

    A rest or pause, usually from work; a breaktime.

    Let's take a five-minute break.

  5. breaknoun

    A temporary split (with a romantic partner).

    I think we need a break.

  6. breaknoun

    An interval or intermission between two parts of a performance, for example a theatre show, broadcast, or sports game.

  7. breaknoun

    A significant change in circumstance, attitude, perception, or focus of attention: big break, lucky break, bad break.

  8. breaknoun

    a change; the end of a spell of persistent good or bad weather

  9. breaknoun

    The beginning (of the morning).

  10. breakverb

    To separate into two or more pieces, to fracture or crack, by a process that cannot easily be reversed for reassembly.

  11. breakverb

    To divide (something, often money) into smaller units.

  12. breakverb

    To cause (a person) to lose his or her spirit or will; to crush the spirits of; to ruin (a person) emotionally.

  13. breakverb

    To cause an animal to lose its will, to tame.

    You have to break an elephant before you can use it as an animal of burden.

  14. breakverb

    To cause (a habit) to no longer exist.

    I've got to break this habit I have of biting my nails.

  15. breakverb

    To ruin financially.

    The recession broke some small businesses.

  16. breakverb

    To do that which is forbidden by (a rule, promise, etc.).

  17. breakverb

    To pass the most dangerous part of the illness; to go down, temperaturewise.

    Susan's fever broke at about 3 AM, and the doctor said the worst was over.

  18. breakverb

    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.

  19. breaknoun

    An act of escaping.

  20. breaknoun

    A place where waves break (that is, where waves pitch or spill forward creating white water).

    The final break in the Greenmount area is Kirra Point.

  21. breaknoun

  22. breakverb

    To stop, or to cause to stop, functioning properly or altogether.

  23. breakverb

    To cause (a barrier) to no longer bar.

    break a seal

  24. breakverb

    To collapse into surf, after arriving in shallow water.

  25. breakverb

    To end.

    The forecast says the hot weather will break by midweek

  26. breakverb

    To interrupt or cease one's work or occupation temporarily.

    Let's break for lunch.

  27. breakverb

    To interrupt (a fall) by inserting something so that the falling object not hit something else beneath.

    He survived the jump out the window because the bushes below broke his fall.

  28. breakverb

    To disclose or make known an item of news, etc.

  29. breakverb

    To arrive.

    Morning has broken.

  30. breakverb

    To become audible suddenly.

  31. breakverb

    To change a steady state abruptly.

  32. breakverb

    To suddenly become.

  33. breakverb

    Of a voice, to alter in type: in men generally to go up, in women sometimes to go down; to crack.

    His voice breaks when he gets emotional.

  34. breakverb

    To surpass or do better than (a specific number), to do better than (a record), setting a new record.

  35. breakverb

  36. breakverb

    To demote, to reduce the military rank of.

  37. breakverb

    To end (a connection), to disconnect.

  38. breakverb

    To demulsify.

  39. breakverb

    To counter-attack

  40. Etymology: From breken, from brecan, from brekanan, from bhrag'-.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Breaknoun

    Etymology: from the verb.

    From the break of day until noon, the roaring of the cannon never ceased. Richard Knolles, Hist. of the Turks.

    For now, and since first break of day, the fiend,
    Mere serpent in appearance, forth was come. Parad. Lost.

    They must be drawn from far, and without breaks, to avoid the multiplicity of lines. John Dryden, Dufresnoy.

    The sight of it would be quite lost, did it not sometimes discover itself through the breaks and openings of the woods that grow about it. Addison.

    All modern trash is
    Set forth with num’rous breaks and dashes. Jonathan Swift.

  2. To BREAKverb

    pret. I broke, or brake; part. pass. broke, or broken.

    Etymology: breccan , Saxon.

    When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets of fragments took ye up? Mark, viii. 19.

    Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. Psalm ii. 3.

    See, said the fire, how soon ’tis done;
    Then took and broke them one by one:
    So strong you’ll be in friendship ty’d;
    So quickly broke, if you divide. Jonathan Swift.

    Moses tells us, that the fountains of the earth were broke open, or clove asunder. Thomas Burnet, Theory.

    By a dim winking lamp, which feebly broke
    The gloomy vapours, he lay stretch’d along. Dryden.

    This is the fabrick, which, when God breaketh down, none can build up again. Thomas Burnet, Theory.

    Into my hand he forc’d the tempting gold,
    While I with modest struggling broke his hold. John Gay.

    I’d give bay Curtal, and his furniture,
    My mouth no more were broken than these boys,
    And writ as little beard. William Shakespeare, All’s well that ends well.

    O father abbot!
    An old man, broken with the storms of state,
    Is come to lay his weary bones among ye;
    Give him a little earth for charity. William Shakespeare, Henry VIII.

    The breaking of that parliament
    Broke him; as that dishonest victory
    At Chæronea, fatal to liberty,
    Kill’d with report that old man eloquent. John Milton.

    Have not some of his vices weakened his body, and broke his health? have not others dissipated his estate, and reduced him to want? John Tillotson.

    I’ll brave her to her face;
    I’ll give my anger its free course against her:
    Thou shalt see, Phœnix, how I’ll break her pride. Philips.

    Why, then, thou can’st not break her to the lute. ——
    —— Why, no; for she hath broke the lute to me. William Shakespeare, Taming the Shrew.

    Behold young Juba, the Numidian prince,
    With how much care he forms himself to glory,
    And breaks the fierceness of his native temper. Joseph Addison, Cato.

    The defeat of that day at Cropredy was much greater than it then appeared to be; and it even broke the heart of his army. Edward Hyde.

    Your hopes without are vanish’d into smoke;
    Your captains taken, and your armies broke. Dryden.

    Opprest nature sleeps:
    This rest might yet have balm’d thy broken senses,
    Which, if conveniency will not allow,
    Stand in hard cure. William Shakespeare, King Lear.

    If any dabler in poetry dares venture upon the experiment, he will only break his brains. Henry Felton, on the Classicks.

    What boots it to break a colt, and to let him streight run loose at random? Edmund Spenser, State of Ireland.

    So fed before he’s broke, he’ll bear
    Too great a stomach patiently to feel
    The lashing whip, or chew the curbing steel. Thomas May, Virgil.

    That hot-mouth’d beast that bears against the curb,
    Hard to be broken even by lawful kings. Dryden.

    No sports but what belong to war they know,
    To break the stubborn colt, to bend the bow. Dryden.

    Virtues like these,
    Make human nature shine, reform the soul,
    And break our fierce barbarians into men. Joseph Addison, Cato.

    For this few know themselves: for merchants broke,
    View their estate with discontent and pain. Davies.

    The king’s grown bankrupt, like a broken man. William Shakespeare.

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

    A command or call to be liberal, all of a sudden impoverishes the rich, breaks the merchant, and shuts up every private man’s exchequer. South.

    She could have run and waddled all about; even the day before she broke her brow; and then my husband took up the child. William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet.

    Weak soul! and blindly to destruction led:
    She break her heart! she’ll sooner break your head. Dryden.

    Lovers break not hours,
    Unless it be to come before their time. William Shakespeare, T. G. of Ver.

    Pardon this fault, and, by my soul I swear,
    I never more will break an oath with thee. William Shakespeare.

    Did not our worthies of the house,
    Before they broke the peace, break vows? Hudibras.

    Unhappy man! to break the pious laws
    Of nature, pleading in his children’s cause. Dryden.

    Break their talk, mistress, quickly; my kinsman shall speak for himself. William Shakespeare, Merry Wives of Windsor.

    Spirit of wine, mingled with common water, yet so as if the first fall be broken, by means of a sop, or otherwise, it stayeth above. Francis Bacon, Physical Remains.

    Think not my sense of virtue is so small;
    I’ll rather leap down first, and break your fall. Dryden.

    As one condemn’d to leap a precipice,
    Who sees before his eyes the depth below,
    Stops short, and looks about for some kind shrub,
    To break his dreadful fall. John Dryden, Spanish Friar.

    She held my hand, the destin’d blow to break,
    Then from her rosy lips began to speak. Dryden.

    Some solitary cloister will I choose,
    Coarse my attire, and short shall be my sleep,
    Broke by the melancholy midnight bell. John Dryden, Sp. Friar.

    The father was so moved, that he could only command his voice, broke with sighs and sobbings, so far as to bid her proceed. Joseph Addison, Spectator, №. 164.

    The poor shade shiv’ring stands, and must not break
    His painful silence, till the mortal speak. Thomas Tickell.

    Sometimes in broken words he sigh’d his care,
    Look’d pale, and tumbled when he view’d the fair. John Gay.

    Did not Paul and Barnabas dispute with that vehemence, that they were forced to break company? Francis Atterbury.

    It is great folly, as well as injustice, to break off so noble a relation. Jeremy Collier, of Friendship.

    The French were not quite broken of it, until some time after they became christians. Nehemiah Grew, Cosmologia Sacra, b. iii. c. 6.

    When any new thing shall be propounded, no counsellor should suddenly deliver any positive opinion, but only hear it, and, at the most, but to break it, at first, that it may be the better understood at the next meeting. Francis Bacon.

    I, who much desir’d to know
    Of whence she was, yet fearful how to break
    My mind, adventur’d humbly thus to speak. John Dryden, Fab.

    I’d rather crack my sinews, break my back,
    Than you should such dishonour undergo. William Shakespeare, Tempest.

    O, many
    Have broke their backs, with laying manors on ’em,
    For this great journey. William Shakespeare, Henry VIII.

    When the price of corn falleth, men generally give over surplus tillage, and break no more ground than will serve to supply their own turn. Richard Carew, Survey of Cornwal.

    The husbandman must first break the land, before it be made capable of good seed. John Davies, on Ireland.

    Good my lord, enter here. ————
    —— Will’t break my heart? ————
    I’d rather break mine own. William Shakespeare, King Lear.

    Should not all relations bear a part?
    It were enough to break a single heart. Dryden.

    I had as lief thou didst break his neck, as his fingers. William Shakespeare.

    To check the starts and sallies of the soul,
    And break off all its commerce with the tongue. Addison.

    Who cannot rest till he good fellows find;
    He breaks up house, turns out of doors his mind. George Herbert.

    He threatened, that the tradesmen would beat out his teeth, if he did not retire immediately, and break up the meeting. John Arbuthnot, History of J. Bull.

    The shells being thus lodged amongst this mineral matter, when this comes now to be broke up, it exhibits impressions of the shells. John Woodward, on Fossils.

    After taking the strong city of Belgrade, Solyman returning to Constantinople, broke up his army, and there lay still the whole year following. Richard Knolles, History of the Turks.

  3. To Breakverb

    Give sorrow words, the grief that does not speak,
    Whispers the o’erfraught heart, and bids it break. William Shakespeare.

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

    The Roman camp
    Hangs o’er us black and threatning, like a storm
    Just breaking on our heads. John Dryden, All for Love.

    He could compare the confusion of a multitude to that tumult in the Icarian sea, dashing and breaking among its crowd of islands. Alexander Pope, Essay on Homer.

    At last a falling billow stops his breath,
    Breaks o’er his head, and whelms him underneath. Dryden.

    Some hidden abscess in the mesentery, breaking some few days after, was discovered to be an aposteme. Gideon Harvey.

    Ask one who hath subdued his natural rage, how he likes the change, and undoubtedly he will tell you, that it is no less happy than the ease of a broken impostume, after the painful gathering and filling of it. Decay of Piety.

    The day breaks not, it is my heart,
    Because that I and you must part.
    Stay, or else my joys will die,
    And perish in their infancy. John Donne.

    When a man thinks of any thing in the darkness of the night, whatever deep impressions it may make in his mind, they are apt to vanish as soon as the day breaks about him. Joseph Addison, Spectator, №. 465.

    Every man,
    After the hideous storm that follow’d, was
    A thing inspir’d; and, not consulting, broke
    Into a general prophecy. William Shakespeare, Henry VIII.

    I did mean, indeed, to pay you with this; which, if, like an ill venture, it come unluckily home, I break, and you, my gentle creditors, lose. William Shakespeare, Henry IV. p. ii. Epilogue.

    He that puts all upon adventures, doth oftentimes break, and come to poverty. Francis Bacon, Essays, №. 35.

    Cutler saw tenants break, and houses fall,
    For very want he could not build a wall. Alexander Pope.

    Yet thus, methinks, I hear them speak;
    See how the dean begins to break:
    Poor gentleman! he droops apace. Jonathan Swift.

    Whose wounds, yet fresh, with bloody hands he strook,
    While from his breast the dreadful accents broke. Alexander Pope.

    Calamities may be nearest at hand, and readiest to break in suddenly upon us, which we, in regard of times or circumstances, may imagine to be farthest off. Richard Hooker, b. v. § 41.

    The three mighty men broke through the host of the Philistines. 2 Sam. xxiii. 16.

    They came into Judah, and brake into it. 2 Chron. xxi. 17.

    Or who shut up the sea within doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? Job, xxxviii. 8.

    This, this is he; softly awhile,
    Let us not break in upon him. John Milton, Agonistes, l. 115.

    He resolved, that Balfour should use his utmost endeavour to break through with his whole body of horse. Edward Hyde, b. viii.

    When the channel of a river is overcharged with water, more than it can deliver, it necessarily breaks over the banks, to make itself room. Matthew Hale, Origin of Mankind.

    Sometimes his anger breaks through all disguises,
    And spares not gods nor men. John Denham, Sophy.

    Till through those clouds the sun of knowledge brake,
    And Europe from her lethargy did wake. John Denham.

    Oh! could’st thou break through fate’s severe decree,
    A new Marcellus shall arise in thee. John Dryden, Æneid.

    At length I’ve acted my severest part;
    I feel the woman breaking in upon me,
    And melt about my heart, my tears will flow. Joseph Addison, Cato.

    How does the lustre of our father’s actions,
    Through the dark cloud of ills that cover him,
    Break out, and burn with more triumphant blaze! Addison.

    And yet, methinks, a beam of light breaks in,
    On my departing soul. Joseph Addison, Cato.

    There are not wanting some, who, struck with the usefulness of these charities, break through all the difficulties and obstructions that now lie in the way towards advancing them. Francis Atterbury.

    Almighty pow’r, by whose most wise command,
    Helpless, forlorn, uncertain here I stand;
    Take this faint glimmering of thyself away,
    Or break into my soul with perfect day! Arbuthnot.

    Heav’n its sparkling portals wide display,
    And break upon thee in a flood of day! Alexander Pope, Messiah.

    I must pay her the last duty of friendship wherever she is, though I break through the whole plan of life which I have formed in my mind. Jonathan Swift, Letters.

    But perceiving this great alteration in his friend, he thought fit to break with him thereof. Philip Sidney, b. i.

    Stay with me awhile;
    I am to break with thee of some affairs,
    That touch me near. William Shakespeare, Two Gentlemen of Verona.

    Break with them, gentle love,
    About the drawing as many of their husbands
    Into the plot, as can; if not, to rid ’em,
    That’ll be the easier practice. Ben Jonson, Catiline.

    Be not afraid to break
    With murd’rers, and traitors, for the saving
    A life so near and necessary to you,
    As is your country’s. Ben Jonson, Catiline.

    To break upon the score of danger or expence, is to be mean and narrow-spirited. Jeremy Collier, on Friendship.

    Sighing, he says, we must certainly break,
    And my cruel unkindness compels him to speak. Matthew Prior.

    How didst thou scorn life’s meaner charms,
    Thou who cou’dst break from Laura’s arms? Wentworth Dillon.

    Thus radiant from the circling crowd he broke;
    And thus with manly modesty he spoke. John Dryden, Virgil.

    This custom makes bigots and scepticks; and those that break from it, are in danger of heresy. John Locke.

    The doctor is a pedant, that, with a deep voice, and a magisterial air, breaks in upon conversation, and drives down all before him. Joseph Addison, on Italy.

    When I see a great officer broke, a change made in the court, or the ministry, and this under the most gracious princess that ever reigned. Jonathan Swift.

    Who would not, finding way, break loose from hell,
    And boldly venture to whatever place,
    Farthest from pain? John Milton, Par. Lost, b. iv. l. 889.

    If we deal falsely in covenant with God, and break loose from all our engagements to him, we release God from all the promises he has made to us. John Tillotson.

    Do not peremptorily break off, in any business, in a fit of anger; but howsoever you shew bitterness, do not act any thing that is not revocable. Francis Bacon.

    Pius Quintus, at the very time when that memorable victory was won by the Christians at Lepanto, being then hearing of causes in consistory, broke off suddenly, and said to those about him, it is now more time we should give thanks to God. Francis Bacon.

    When you begin to consider, whether you may safely take one draught more, let that be accounted a sign late enough to break off. Jeremy Taylor, Rule of living holy.

    I must from this enchanting queen break off. William Shakespeare.

    Let not one spark of filthy lustful fire
    Break out, that may her sacred peace molest. Edmund Spenser.

    They smother and keep down the flame of the mischief, so as it may not break out in their time of government; what comes afterwards, they care not. Edmund Spenser, Ireland.

    Such a deal of wonder is broken out within this hour, that ballad-makers cannot be able to express it. William Shakespeare.

    As fire breaks out of flint by percussion, so wisdom and truth issueth out of the agitation of argument. James Howell.

    Fully ripe, his swelling fate breaks out,
    And hurries him to mighty mischiefs on. Dryden.

    All turn’d their sides, and to each other spoke;
    I saw their words break out in fire and smoke. Dryden.

    Like a ball of fire, the further thrown,
    Still with a greater blaze she shone,
    And her bright soul broke out on ev’ry side. Dryden.

    There can be no greater labour, than to be always dissembling; there being so many ways by which a smothered truth is apt to blaze, and break out. South.

    They are men of concealed fire, that doth not break out in the ordinary circumstances of life. Joseph Addison, on the War.

    A violent fever broke out in the place, which swept away great multitudes. Joseph Addison, Spectator, №. 164.

    He broke not out into his great excesses, while he was restrained by the counsels and authority of Seneca. Dryden.

    It is credibly affirmed, that, upon that very day, when the river first riseth, great plagues in Cairo use suddenly to break up. Francis Bacon, Natural Hist. №. 743.

    These, and the like conceits, when men have cleared their understanding, by the light of experience, will scatter and break up, like mist. Francis Bacon, Nat. Hist. №. 124.

    The speedy depredation of air upon watery moisture, and version of the same into air, appeareth in nothing more visible, than the sudden discharge or vanishing of a little cloud of breath, or vapour, from glass, or any polished body; for the mistiness scattereth, and breaketh up suddenly. Francis Bacon.

    But, ere he came near it, the pillar and cross of light brake up, and cast itself abroad, as it were, into a firmament of many stars. Francis Bacon, New Atlantis.

    What we obtain by conversation, is oftentimes lost again, as soon as the company breaks up, or, at least, when the day vanishes. Isaac Watts.

    Our army is dispers’d already:
    Like youthful steers unyok’d, they took their course
    East, west, north, south: or, like a school broke up,
    Each hurries tow’rds his home and sporting-place. William Shakespeare.

    There is a slave whom we have put in prison,
    Reports, the Volscians, with two several powers,
    Are entered in the Roman territories. ——
    —— Go see this rumourer whipt. It cannot be,
    The Volscians dare break with us. William Shakespeare, Coriolanus.

    Can there be any thing of friendship in snares, hooks, and trapans? Whosoever breaks with his friend upon such terms, has enough to warrant him in so doing, both before God and and man. South.

    Invent some apt pretence,
    To break with Bertran. John Dryden, Spanish Friar.


  1. break

    CONFIG.SYS is the primary configuration file for the DOS and OS/2 operating systems. It is a special ASCII text file that contains user-accessible setup or configuration directives evaluated by the operating system's DOS BIOS (typically residing in IBMBIO.COM or IO.SYS) during boot. CONFIG.SYS was introduced with DOS 2.0.


  1. break

    A general definition for "break" is a pause, interruption, or disruption in an ongoing activity, process, or period of time, often resulting in a temporary cessation or separation from the normal routine or continuous flow. It can involve a rest, a breather, or a chance to relax, recharge, or regain energy before resuming or starting something new. It can also refer to the act of physically separating or causing something to separate into smaller parts or pieces, resulting in a division or destruction of the whole.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Breakverb

    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. Breakverb

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

  3. Breakverb

    to lay open, as a purpose; to disclose, divulge, or communicate

  4. Breakverb

    to infringe or violate, as an obligation, law, or promise

  5. Breakverb

    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

  6. Breakverb

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

  7. Breakverb

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

  8. Breakverb

    to shatter to pieces; to reduce to fragments

  9. Breakverb

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

  10. Breakverb

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

  11. Breakverb

    to weaken or impair, as health, spirit, or mind

  12. Breakverb

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

  13. Breakverb

    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. Breakverb

    to tame; to reduce to subjection; to make tractable; to discipline; as, to break a horse to the harness or saddle

  15. Breakverb

    to destroy the financial credit of; to make bankrupt; to ruin

  16. Breakverb

    to destroy the official character and standing of; to cashier; to dismiss

  17. Breakverb

    to come apart or divide into two or more pieces, usually with suddenness and violence; to part; to burst asunder

  18. Breakverb

    to open spontaneously, or by pressure from within, as a bubble, a tumor, a seed vessel, a bag

  19. Breakverb

    to burst forth; to make its way; to come to view; to appear; to dawn

  20. Breakverb

    to burst forth violently, as a storm

  21. Breakverb

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

  22. Breakverb

    to become weakened in constitution or faculties; to lose health or strength

  23. Breakverb

    to be crushed, or overwhelmed with sorrow or grief; as, my heart is breaking

  24. Breakverb

    to fall in business; to become bankrupt

  25. Breakverb

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

  26. Breakverb

    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 puberty

  27. Breakverb

    to fall out; to terminate friendship

  28. Breakverb

    an opening made by fracture or disruption

  29. Breakverb

    an interruption of continuity; change of direction; as, a break in a wall; a break in the deck of a ship

  30. Breakverb

    a projection or recess from the face of a building

  31. Breakverb

    an opening or displacement in the circuit, interrupting the electrical current

  32. Breakverb

    an interruption; a pause; as, a break in friendship; a break in the conversation

  33. Breakverb

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

  34. Breakverb

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

  35. Breakverb

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

  36. Breakverb

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

  37. Breaknoun

    see Commutator


  1. Break

    In popular music, a break is an instrumental or percussion section or interlude during a song derived from or related to stop-time – being a "break" from the main parts of the song or piece. A solo break in jazz occurs when the rhythm section stops playing behind a soloist for a brief period, usually two or four bars leading into the soloist's first chorus. A notable recorded example is Charlie Parker's solo break at the beginning of his solo on "A Night in Tunisia". In DJ parlance, a break is where all elements of a song, except for percussion, disappear for a time. This is distinguished from a breakdown, a section where the composition is deliberately deconstructed to minimal elements, all other parts having been gradually or suddenly cut out. The distinction between breaks and breakdowns may be described as, "Breaks are for the drummer; breakdowns are for hands in the air". In hip hop and electronica, a short break is also known as a "cut", and the reintroduction of the full bass line and drums is known as a "drop", which is sometimes accented by cutting off everything, even the percussion.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Break

    brāk, v.t. to part by force: to shatter: to crush: to tame, or wear out: to violate, or outrage, as a law, a bargain, &c.: to check by intercepting, as a fall: to interrupt, as silence, or the monotony of anything, or in 'to break one off a habit:' to make bankrupt: to degrade from rank, as an officer.—v.i. to part in two: to burst forth: to open or appear, as the morning: to become bankrupt: to crack or give way, as the voice: to dissolve, as frost: to collapse in foam, as a wave: to fall out, as with a friend:—pa.t. brōke; pa.p. brōk′en.—n. the state of being broken: an opening: a pause or interruption: (billiards) a consecutive series of successful strokes, also the number of points attained by such: the dawn.—ns. Break′age, the action of breaking, or its consequences: an interruption; Break′-down, a dance, vigorous rather than graceful, in which much noise is made by the feet of the one performer; Break′er, a wave broken on rocks or the shore.—adj. Break′-neck, likely to cause a broken neck.—ns. Break′-prom′ise, Break′-vow, one who makes a practice of breaking his promise or vow; Break′water, a barrier to break the force of the waves.—Break a jest, to utter a jest unexpectedly; Break a lance with, to enter into a contest with a rival; Break away, to go away abruptly, as from prison, &c.: to be scattered, as clouds after a storm; Break bulk, to open the hold and take out a portion of the cargo; Break cover, to burst forth from concealment, as a fox; Break down, to crush down or level: to collapse, to fail completely; Break forth, to burst out, issue; Break ground, to commence digging or excavation: to begin; Break in, to train to labour, as a horse; Break in, in upon, or into, to enter violently or unexpectedly, to interpose abruptly in a conversation, &c.; Break loose, to extricate one's self forcibly: to break through all restraint; Break news, to make anything known, esp. of bad news, with caution and delicacy; Break off, to separate by breaking, put an end to; Break out, to appear suddenly: to break through all restraint; Break sheer (said of a ship riding at anchor), to be forced by wind or tide out of a position clear of the anchor; Break the heart, to destroy with grief; Break the ice (fig.), to get through first difficulties: Break up, to break open; Break upon the wheel, to punish by stretching a criminal on a wheel and breaking his bones; Break wind, to void wind from the stomach; Break with, to fail out, as friends may do. [A.S. brecan; Ger. brechen.]

  2. Break

    Brake, brāk, n. a large wagonette: a carriage frame, all wheels and no body, used in breaking in horses. [Break, v.t.]

The New Hacker's Dictionary

  1. break

    1. vt. To cause to be broken (in any sense). “Your latest patch to the editor broke the paragraph commands.” 2. v. (of a program) To stop temporarily, so that it may debugged. The place where it stops is a breakpoint. 3. [techspeak] vi. To send an RS-232 break (two character widths of line high) over a serial comm line. 4. [Unix] vi. To strike whatever key currently causes the tty driver to send SIGINT to the current process. Normally, break (sense 3), delete or control-C does this. 5. break break may be said to interrupt a conversation (this is an example of verb doubling). This usage comes from radio communications, which in turn probably came from landline telegraph/teleprinter usage, as badly abused in the Citizen's Band craze of the early 1980s.

The Standard Electrical Dictionary

  1. Break

    A point where an electric conductor is cut, broken, or opened by a switch or other device, or simply by discontinuity of the wires.

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. break

    The sudden rise of a deck when not flush; when the aft, and sometimes the fore part, of a vessel's deck is kept up to give more height below, and at the drifts.--Break of the poop, where it ends at the foremost part.

Rap Dictionary

  1. breakverb

    to break dance. "I did it my way, from break dancing, back spins on the cardboard" -- Nas (The Lost Tapes "My Way")

  2. breakverb

    luck from bad luck. and she runs of with him to japan, that's the breaks, that's the breaks: kurtis blow - the breaks

  3. breakverb

    dip out,run,get gone,split up,etc

  4. breakverb

    A form of street dance associated with Hip Hop. It is considerd one of the elements of Hip Hop.

Suggested Resources

  1. Break

    Brake vs. Break -- In this Grammar.com article you will learn the differences between the words Brake and Break.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. BREAK

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Break is ranked #138304 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Break surname appeared 121 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Break.

    96.6% or 117 total occurrences were White.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Break' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #1913

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Break' in Written Corpus Frequency: #1232

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Break' in Nouns Frequency: #1059

  4. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Break' in Verbs Frequency: #117

Anagrams for Break »

  1. baker

  2. Baker

  3. brake

How to pronounce Break?

How to say Break in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of Break in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of Break in Pythagorean Numerology is: 1

Examples of Break in a Sentence

  1. Douglas MacArthur:

    You are remembered for the rules you break.

  2. Manuel Franco:

    I want to take a break, let it sink in, i do want to help out the world but I want to make sure my future is secure.

  3. Ted Kennedy:

    Robert Bork America is a land in which women would be forced into back alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids and school children could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists would be censured at the whim of government.

  4. Alex Villanueva:

    Had we done the normal approach, break up the party before, the same victim would have been taken to the next location, so this actually rescued her from that, she would have been passed down to the next party.

  5. Tuukka Rask:

    It’s just one of those wear and tear situations that I think when you hit enough miles your body just starts to break up on you.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for Break

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • breekAfrikaans
  • انكسر, كسر, استراحةArabic
  • qırmaqAzerbaijani
  • лама́ць, разбі́ць, лама́цца, злама́цца, злама́ць, разбіва́ць, разбіва́цца, разбі́ццаBelarusian
  • нарушавам, разбивам, пробивам, разбивам се, прекъсвам, чупя, чупя се, развалям се, развалям, пуквам, чу́пя, счупване, цепнатина, междучасие, прибой, разбиване, пукнатина, пауза, пробивBulgarian
  • trencar, trencar el servei, internar-se, escapar-se, entrada, escapadaCatalan, Valencian
  • rozbít, porušit, rozbít se, přestat fungovat, pokazit, zlomit, zlomit si, polámat se, pokazit se, pauza, přestávkaCzech
  • ødelægge, brække, stykke, bryde, krænke, itu, smadre, knuse, pauseDanish
  • kaputtgehen, brechen, kaputtmachen, aufbrechen, pausieren, zerbrechen, knacken, anbrechen, dämmern, Öffnung, Spalt, Break, Pause, BruchGerman
  • χαλάω, σπάω, διάλειμμαGreek
  • rompiĝi, rompi, paneiEsperanto
  • quebrar, romper, romperse, descomponerse, descomponer, cambiar, rupturaSpanish
  • hautsi, apurtu, puskatuBasque
  • خرد کردن, شکستن, خراب کردنPersian
  • särkeä, lopettaa, rikkoa, särkyä, lannistaa, ratkaista, murtaa, hajota, murtua, tiltata, tauko, kajahtaa, keskeyttää, taittaa, kertoa, breikata, pirstoa, alentaa, murskata, nujertaa, jakaa, kesyttää, kaataa, mennä rikki, hellittää, pysäyttää, muuttua, uutisoida, hajottaa, koittaa, murtautua, aloittaa, katkaista, särkeminen, särkyminen, rikkoutuminen, aukko, käänne, vastahyökkäys, aamunkoitto, pako, syötönmurto, murtaminen, rikkominen, väliaika, murros, aloituslyönti, aamunkoite, murtumaFinnish
  • se casser, casser, outrepasser, muer, battre, contre-attaquer, se rompre, rompre, briser, diviser, dégrader, riposter, se briser, pause, espace, ouvertureFrench
  • brekkeWestern Frisian
  • brisIrish
  • brisScottish Gaelic
  • crebar, quebrar, crebadura, quebraduraGalician
  • jokaGuaraní
  • brisheyManx
  • שבירה, נשבר, שבר, הפר, התקלקל, שְׁבִירָהHebrew
  • टूटनाHindi
  • elromlik, törik, eltör, eltörik, megtör, elront, tör, elkedvetlenít, megszeg, szünetHungarian
  • կոտրվել, ջարդվել, կոտրել, խախտել, ջարդել, փչանալ, փչացնելArmenian
  • ruptarIdo
  • skemma, brotna, brjóta, eyðileggjaIcelandic
  • rompere, rompersi, pausaItalian
  • 割る, ひびが入る, 折れる, 破壊, 休憩, 犯す, 壊れる, 壊す, 割れる, 散らばる, 砕く, 破る, ブレークを取る, ブレークする, 隙間, ブレーク, 割れ目Japanese
  • ტყდომა, მსხვრევა, მტვრევაGeorgian
  • сындыруKazakh
  • បាក់, បែកKhmer
  • 부수다, 쉬다, 부러지다, 깨다, 잔꾀부리다, 까발리다, 깨트리다, 부러뜨리다, 부서지다Korean
  • شکاندنKurdish
  • сындырууKyrgyz
  • frangere, cōnfringō, rumpō, frangōLatin
  • sulaužytiLithuanian
  • salauzt, beigties, paņemt pārtraukumu, lūzt, lauzt, pārkāpt, salūzt, lūzums, pārtraukums, lūšanaLatvian
  • whakararata, pekehāwani, whati, pōrutu, hotu, tūātea, puapuaMāori
  • кр́шиMacedonian
  • хагарахMongolian
  • breken, kapotgaan, kapotmaken, pauzeren, muteren, overtreden, stukgaan, stukmakenDutch
  • gå i stykkerNorwegian
  • fragar, esberlar, quebrarOccitan
  • złamać, złamać się, połamać się, łamać, rozbić się, rozbijać, przerwa, przełamaniePolish
  • romper, quebrar, desrespeitar, partir, estragar, violar, pausar, tempo, pausaPortuguese
  • llik'iyQuechua
  • rumper, romperRomansh
  • rupe, crăpa, frânge, sfărâma, fractură, pauză, întrerupere, rupere, ruptură, crăpătură, deschidereRomanian
  • наруша́ть, по́ртить, нару́шить, испо́ртить, слома́ться, лома́ть, лома́ться, разбива́ться, разби́ться, слома́ть, разоря́ть, [[делать]] [[перерыв]], разбива́ть, разби́ть, переры́в, разло́мRussian
  • lomiti, ломитиSerbo-Croatian
  • කඩනවාSinhala, Sinhalese
  • razbiti, zlomiti se, razbiti se, pokvariti se, zlomiti, prekršiti, pokvariti, odmorSlovene
  • thyen, thyejAlbanian
  • sönder, bryta, spränga, gå sönder, ha, avbryta, ta, avbrott, paus, break, brott, rastSwedish
  • kuvunjika, kuvunjaSwahili
  • இடைவெளிTamil
  • విరుచు, విరగగొట్టు, చెడిపోవు, విరామంTelugu
  • шикастанTajik
  • เลิก, แตกThai
  • gyrmak, dövmekTurkmen
  • kırılmak, kırmakTurkish
  • сындырыргаTatar
  • розби́ти, лама́ти, розбива́ти, злама́тиUkrainian
  • ٹوٹناUrdu
  • sindirmoq, buzmoqUzbek
  • làm bể, bị bểVietnamese

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    A state of immorality or sin
    • A. sweep
    • B. impurity
    • C. contempt
    • D. leaven

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