Meaning of BREAK in English

BREAK

/ breɪk; NAmE / verb , noun

■ verb

( broke / brəʊk; NAmE broʊk/ broken / ˈbrəʊkən; NAmE ˈbroʊkən/)

IN PIECES

1.

break (sth) (in / into sth) to be damaged and separated into two or more parts, as a result of force; to damage sth in this way :

[ v ]

All the windows broke with the force of the blast.

She dropped the plate and it broke into pieces .

[ vn ]

to break a cup / window

She fell off a ladder and broke her arm.

He broke the chocolate in two .

STOP WORKING

2.

to stop working as a result of being damaged; to damage sth and stop it from working :

[ v ]

My watch has broken.

[ vn ]

I think I've broken the washing machine.

SKIN

3.

[ vn ] to cut the surface of the skin and make it bleed :

The dog bit me but didn't break the skin.

LAW / PROMISE

4.

[ vn ] to do sth that is against the law; to not keep a promise, etc. :

to break the law / rules / conditions

to break an agreement / a contract / a promise / your word

to break an appointment (= not to come to it)

He was breaking the speed limit (= travelling faster than the law allows) .

STOP FOR SHORT TIME

5.

break (for sth) to stop doing sth for a while, especially when it is time to eat or have a drink :

[ v ]

Let's break for lunch.

[ vn ]

a broken night's sleep (= a night during which you often wake up)

( especially BrE )

We broke our journey in Oxford (= stopped in Oxford on the way to the place we were going to) .

END STH

6.

[ vn ] to interrupt sth so that it ends suddenly :

She broke the silence by coughing.

A tree broke his fall (= stopped him as he was falling) .

The phone rang and broke my train of thought.

7.

[ vn ] to make sth end by using force or strong action :

an attempt to break the year-long siege

Management has not succeeded in breaking the strike .

8.

[ vn ] to end a connection with sth or a relationship with sb :

He broke all links with the Communist party.

ESCAPE

9.

[ v + adv. / prep. ] break free (from sb/sth) ( of a person or an object ) to get away from or out of a position in which they are stuck or trapped :

He finally managed to break free from his attacker.

DESTROY, BE DESTROYED

10.

to destroy sth or make sb/sth weaker; to become weak or be destroyed :

[ vn ]

to break sb's morale / resistance / resolve / spirit

The government was determined to break the power of the trade unions.

The scandal broke him (= ruined his reputation and destroyed his confidence) .

[ v ]

She broke under questioning (= was no longer able to bear it) and confessed to everything.

MAKE SB FEEL BAD

11.

[ vn ] to make sb feel so sad, lonely, etc. that they cannot live a normal life :

The death of his wife broke him completely.

OF WEATHER

12.

[ v ] to change suddenly, usually after a period when it has been fine

SHOW OPENING

13.

[ v ] to show an opening :

The clouds broke and the sun came out.

OF DAY / DAWN / STORM

14.

[ v ] when the day or dawn or a storm breaks , it begins :

Dawn was breaking when they finally left.

—see also daybreak

OF NEWS

15.

[ v ] if a piece of news breaks , it becomes known :

There was a public outcry when the scandal broke.

breaking news (= news that is arriving about events that have just happened)

16.

[ vn ] break it / the news to sb to be the first to tell sb some bad news :

Who's going to break it to her?

I'm sorry to be the one to break the news to you.

OF VOICE

17.

[ v ] if sb's voice breaks , it changes its tone because of emotion :

Her voice broke as she told us the dreadful news.

18.

[ v ] when a boy's voice breaks , it becomes permanently deeper at about the age of 13 or 14

A RECORD

19.

[ vn ] to do sth better, faster, etc. than anyone has ever done it before :

She had broken the world 100 metres record.

The movie broke all box-office records.

OF WAVES

20.

[ v ] when waves break , they fall and are dissolved into foam , usually near land :

the sound of waves breaking on the beach

The sea was breaking over the wrecked ship.

STH SECRET

21.

[ vn ] to find the meaning of sth secret :

to break a code

MONEY

22.

[ vn ] ( especially NAmE ) to change a banknote for coins :

Can you break a twenty-dollar bill?

IDIOMS

Idioms containing break are at the entries for the nouns and adjectives in the idioms, for example break sb's heart is at heart . 

PHRASAL VERBS

- break away (from sb/sth)

- break down

- break sth down

—related noun breakdown

- break for sth

- break in

- break sb/sth in

- break in (on sth)

- break into sth

- break off

- break sth off

- break out

- break out (of sth)

- break out in sth

- break through

- break through | break through sth

- break through sth

- break up

- break sth up

- break up (with sb)

- break with sth

■ noun

SHORT STOP / PAUSE

1.

[ C ] a short period of time when you stop what you are doing and rest, eat, etc. :

a coffee / lunch / tea break

Let's take a break .

a break for lunch

She worked all day without a break.

2.

(also ˈbreak time ) (both BrE ) ( NAmE re·cess ) [ U ] a period of time between lessons at school :

Come and see me at break.

3.

[ C ] a pause or period of time when sth stops before starting again :

a break in my daily routine

She wanted to take a career break in order to have children.

4.

[ C ] a pause for advertisements in the middle of a television or radio programme :

More news after the break.

HOLIDAY / VACATION

5.

[ C ] a short holiday / vacation :

We had a weekend break in New York.

a well-earned break

CHANGE IN SITUATION

6.

[ sing. ] break (in sth) | break (with sb/sth) the moment when a situation that has existed for a time changes, ends or is interrupted :

He needed to make a complete break with the past.

a break with tradition / convention (= a change from what is accepted, in sth such as art, behaviour, etc.)

a break in the weather (= a change from one type of weather to a different one)

a break in diplomatic relations

OPENING / SPACE

7.

[ C ] break (in sth) a space or an opening between two or more things :

We could see the moon through a break in the clouds.

OPPORTUNITY

8.

[ C ] ( informal ) an opportunity to do sth, usually to get sth that you want or to achieve success :

I got my lucky break when I won a 'Young Journalist of the Year' competition.

We've had a few bad breaks (= pieces of bad luck) along the way.

OF BONE

9.

[ C ] a place where sth, especially a bone in your body, has broken :

The X-ray showed there was no break in his leg.

IN TENNIS

10.

(also break of ˈserve ) [ C ] a win in a game in which your opponent is serving :

It was her second break in the set.

break point (= a situation in which, if you win the next point, you win the game)

IN BILLIARDS / SNOOKER

11.

[ C ] a series of successful shots by one player; the number of points scored in a series of successful shots :

He's put together a magnificent break.

a 147 break (= the highest possible break in snooker )

IDIOMS

- break of day / dawn

- give me a break!

- give sb a break

- make a break for sth / for it

—more at clean adjective

••

SYNONYMS

break

rest ♦ breather ♦ breathing space ♦ respite ♦ time out

These are all words for a short period of time spent relaxing.

break

a short period of time when you stop what you are doing and rest or eat:

Let's take a break .

NOTE

In British English break is a period of time between lessons at school. The North American English word is recess .

rest

a period of relaxing, sleeping or doing nothing after a period of activity:

We stopped for a well-earned rest.

breather

( informal ) a short pause in an activity to rest or relax:

a five-minute breather

breathing space

a short pause in the middle of a period of mental or physical effort:

This delay gives the party a breathing space in which to sort out its policies.

breather or breathing space?

You decide when to take a breather ; a breathing space has to be given or won. A breather is for relaxing; a breathing space is for sorting things out.

respite

a short break from sth difficult or unpleasant:

The drug brought a brief respite from the pain.

time out

( informal , especially NAmE ) time for resting or relaxing away from your usual work or studies:

Take time out to relax by the pool.

••

VOCABULARY BUILDING

words that mean 'break'

| burst |

The balloon hit a tree and burst.

|

| crack |

The ice started to crack.

|

| crumble |

Crumble the cheese into a bowl.

|

| cut |

Now cut the wire in two.

|

| fracture |

He fell and fractured his hip.

|

| shatter |

The vase hit the floor and shattered.

|

| smash |

Vandals had smashed two windows.

|

| snap |

I snapped the pencil in half.

|

| split |

The bag had split open on the way home.

|

| tear |

She tore the letter into pieces.

|

All these verbs, except cut , can be used with or without an object.

••

WORD ORIGIN

Old English brecan (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch breken and German brechen , from an Indo-European root shared by Latin frangere to break.

Oxford Advanced Learner's English Dictionary.      Оксфордский английский словарь для изучающик язык на продвинутом уровне.