Meaning of BREAK in English

transcription, транскрипция: [ breɪk ]

( breaks, breaking, broke, broken)

Frequency: The word is one of the 700 most common words in English.


When an object breaks or when you break it, it suddenly separates into two or more pieces, often because it has been hit or dropped.

He fell through the window, breaking the glass...

The plate broke...

Break the cauliflower into florets...

The plane broke into three pieces.

...bombed-out buildings, surrounded by broken glass and rubble...

The only sound was the crackle of breaking ice.

VERB : V n , V , V n into pl-n , V into pl-n , V-ed , V-ing


If you break a part of your body such as your leg, your arm, or your nose, or if a bone breaks , you are injured because a bone cracks or splits.

She broke a leg in a skiing accident...

Old bones break easily...

Several people were treated for broken bones.

VERB : V n , V , V-ed

Break is also a noun.

It has caused a bad break to Gabriella’s leg.



If a surface, cover, or seal breaks or if something breaks it, a hole or tear is made in it, so that a substance can pass through.

Once you’ve broken the seal of a bottle there’s no way you can put it back together again...

The bandage must be put on when the blister breaks...

Do not use the cream on broken skin.

VERB : V n , V , V-ed


When a tool or piece of machinery breaks or when you break it, it is damaged and no longer works.

When the clutch broke, the car was locked into second gear...

The lead biker broke his bike chain.

VERB : V , V n , also V-ed


If you break a rule, promise, or agreement, you do something that you should not do according to that rule, promise, or agreement.

We didn’t know we were breaking the law.

...broken promises.

VERB : V n , V-ed


If you break free or loose, you free yourself from something or escape from it.

She broke free by thrusting her elbow into his chest.

VERB : V adj


If someone breaks something, especially a difficult or unpleasant situation that has existed for some time, they end it or change it.

New proposals have been put forward to break the deadlock among rival factions...

The country is heading towards elections which may break the party’s long hold on power.

VERB : V n , V n

Break is also a noun.

Nothing that might lead to a break in the deadlock has been discussed yet.

N-COUNT : usu sing


If someone or something breaks a silence, they say something or make a noise after a long period of silence.

Hugh broke the silence. ‘Is she always late?’ he asked...

VERB : V n


If there is a break in the cloud or weather, it changes and there is a short period of sunshine or fine weather.

A sudden break in the cloud allowed rescuers to spot Michael Benson.



If you break with a group of people or a traditional way of doing things, or you break your connection with them, you stop being involved with that group or stop doing things in that way.

In 1959, Akihito broke with imperial tradition by marrying a commoner...

They were determined to break from precedent...

They have yet to break the link with the trade unions.

VERB : V with n , V from n , V n with n , also V n

Break is also a noun.

Making a completely clean break with the past, the couple got rid of all their old furniture.

N-COUNT : usu sing


If you break a habit or if someone breaks you of it, you no longer have that habit.

If you continue to smoke, keep trying to break the habit...

The professor hoped to break the students of the habit of looking for easy answers.

VERB : V n , V n of n


To break someone means to destroy their determination and courage, their success, or their career.

He never let his jailers break him...

Ken’s wife, Vicki, said: ‘He’s a broken man.’

= destroy

VERB : V n , V-ed


If someone breaks for a short period of time, they rest or change from what they are doing for a short period.

They broke for lunch.



A break is a short period of time when you have a rest or a change from what you are doing, especially if you are working or if you are in a boring or unpleasant situation.

They may be able to help with childcare so that you can have a break...

I thought a 15 min break from his work would do him good...

She rang Moira during a coffee break.

N-COUNT : oft N from/in n

see also lunch break , tea break


A break is a short holiday.

They are currently taking a short break in Spain.



If you break your journey somewhere, you stop there for a short time so that you can have a rest.

Because of the heat we broke our journey at a small country hotel.

VERB : V n


To break the force of something such as a blow or fall means to weaken its effect, for example by getting in the way of it.

He sustained serious neck injuries after he broke someone’s fall.

VERB : V n


When a piece of news breaks , people hear about it from the newspapers, television, or radio.

The news broke that the Prime Minister had resigned...

He resigned from his post as Bishop when the scandal broke.

VERB : V , V


When you break a piece of bad news to someone, you tell it to them, usually in a kind way.

Then Louise broke the news that she was leaving me...

I worried for ages and decided that I had better break it to her.

VERB : V n , V n to n


A break is a lucky opportunity that someone gets to achieve something. ( INFORMAL )

He went into TV and got his first break playing opposite Sid James in the series ‘Citizen James’.



If you break a record, you beat the previous record for a particular achievement.

Jurassic Park had broken all box office records.

VERB : V n

see also record-breaking


When day or dawn breaks , it starts to grow light after the night has ended.

They continued the search as dawn broke.


see also daybreak


When a wave breaks , it passes its highest point and turns downwards, for example when it reaches the shore.

Danny listened to the waves breaking against the shore.



If you break a secret code, you work out how to understand it.

It was feared they could break the Allies’ codes.

= crack

VERB : V n


If someone’s voice breaks when they are speaking, it changes its sound, for example because they are sad or afraid.

Godfrey’s voice broke, and halted.



When a boy’s voice breaks , it becomes deeper and sounds more like a man’s voice.

He sings with the strained discomfort of someone whose voice hasn’t quite broken.



If the weather breaks or a storm breaks , it suddenly becomes rainy or stormy after a period of sunshine.

I’ve been waiting for the weather to break...



In tennis, if you break your opponent’s serve, you win a game in which your opponent is serving.

He broke McEnroe’s serve.

VERB : V n

Break is also a noun.

A single break of serve settled the first two sets.



see also broke , broken , heartbreak , heartbreaking , heartbroken , outbreak


The break of day or the break of dawn is the time when it begins to grow light after the night. ( LITERARY )

‘I,’ he finished poetically, ‘will watch over you to the break of day.’



You can say ‘ give me a break ’ to show that you are annoyed by what someone has said or done. ( INFORMAL )

‘I’m a real intellectual-type guy, Tracy,’ James joked. ‘Oh, give me a break,’ Tracy moaned.

CONVENTION [ feelings ]


If you make a break or make a break for it , you run to escape from something.

The moment had come to make a break or die...

PHRASE : V inflects


to break cover: see cover

to break even: see even

to break new ground: see ground

to break someone’s heart: see heart

all hell breaks loose: see hell

to break the ice: see ice

to break ranks: see rank

to break wind: see wind

Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner's English Dictionary.      Английский словарь Коллинз COBUILD для изучающих язык на продвинутом уровне.