Meaning of BREAK in English


1. to break something into pieces

2. to break into pieces

3. to break something into two pieces

4. to break into two pieces

5. to break something into a lot of pieces

6. to break into a lot of pieces

7. to break a piece from the main part of something

8. to break, so that one piece becomes separated from the main part

9. to break a bone in your body

10. easily broken


see also









1. to break something into pieces

▷ break /breɪk/ [transitive verb]

to break something, either accidentally or deliberately :

▪ She fell off her bike and broke her glasses.

▪ If you break it you’ll have to pay for it out of your allowance.

▪ I broke one of her platters once, and I swear she’s never forgiven me.

▪ He once broke a window of his grandfather’s greenhouse with a football.

▷ bust /bʌst/ [transitive verb] spoken informal

to break something :

▪ The ball hit him in the face and bust his glasses.

▪ He busted the side window with a bat.

bust something up/bust up something

▪ Dean got really drunk and started busting up the bar.

bust something down/bust down something

▪ The police had to bust down the door.

▷ crack /kræk/ [transitive verb]

to break or damage something so that cracks appear in its surface :

▪ A stone hit the windshield and cracked it.

▪ I cracked one of the wine glasses when I was washing it.

▪ The earthquake cracked walls and driveways and knocked out electricity and communications.

2. to break into pieces

▷ break /breɪk/ [intransitive verb]

▪ She dropped a plate and it broke.

▪ My watchband has broken.

▪ The ice broke and they both fell through.

▪ The cam belt broke and ruined the engine.

▷ get broken /get ˈbrəʊkən/ [verb phrase]

if something gets broken, someone breaks it accidentally :

▪ If you leave your toys on the floor, they’ll get broken.

▪ A few of the cups got broken while we were moving house.

▪ When her grandchildren visit, she puts away anything she doesn’t want to get broken.

▷ crack /kræk/ [intransitive verb]

if something cracks, it breaks slightly so that lines appear in its surface :

▪ The bell cracked after many years of use.

▪ A few windows cracked from the heat during the fire.

▪ The pipeline had cracked a long time before the oil spill occurred.

crack [countable noun]

▪ There are a few cracks in the plaster.

▷ give way /ˌgɪv ˈweɪ/ [verb phrase]

if something such as a floor, wall, or bridge gives way, it finally breaks because there is a lot of pressure or weight on it :

▪ He was changing a light bulb when the ladder gave way.

▪ The crowd surged forward and the fence gave way.

▪ The whole side of the hill gave way after a week of heavy rain.

▷ bust /bʌst/ [intransitive verb] informal

if something busts, it breaks :

▪ The toy is made of a balloon in a cloth sack that can be hit without busting.

bust open

break in such a way that what is inside can come out

▪ His suitcase busted open, and everything went all over the floor in the hotel lobby.

3. to break something into two pieces

▷ break something in two/in half /ˌbreɪk something ɪn ˈtuː, ɪn ˈhɑːfǁ -ˈhæf/ [verb phrase]

to break something into two, fairly equal pieces :

▪ The explosion broke the ship in two.

▪ David broke the chocolate bar in half and gave a piece to Sue.

▷ snap /snæp/ [transitive verb]

to break something, usually a long thin object, so that it makes a sudden, short loud noise :

▪ He hit a rock and snapped the truck’s axle.

▪ High winds snapped power lines in the city, leaving more than 9000 people without power.

snap something in two/in half

▪ He accidentally snapped his putter in half during one tournament.

snap off

▪ The tip of the tree snapped off when it fell.

▷ split /splɪt/ [transitive verb]

to break something such as wood into two parts along a straight line :

▪ She learned to split logs and stack a woodpile.

split something in two/in half

▪ Split the leek in half lengthwise, and cut it into 1/4-inch pieces.

4. to break into two pieces

▷ break in two/in half /ˌbreɪk ɪn ˈtuː, ɪn ˈhɑːfǁ-ˈhæf/ [verb phrase]

▪ The ship broke in two when it ran aground, and 900 tons of fuel oil leaked out.

▪ When I pulled at the board, it broke in two and fell down.

▷ snap /snæp/ [intransitive verb]

if something snaps, especially something long and thin, it breaks into two pieces making a short loud noise :

▪ A twig snapped under his foot.

▪ Power lines snapped in the high winds.

▪ One of the strings on my guitar snapped when I was tuning it.

snap off

▪ The tip of the Christmas tree snapped off when it fell.

▷ split /splɪt/ [intransitive verb]

if wood, bone etc splits, it breaks into two parts along a straight line :

▪ The window frames are old and the wood is starting to split.

▪ When it crashed, the plane’s fuselage split behind the wings.

split in two/half

▪ The back of the chair had split in two.

split open

split so that there is a hole

▪ A metal tube split open in the steam generator of the nuclear power plant.

5. to break something into a lot of pieces

▷ smash /smæʃ/ [transitive verb]

to break something into a lot of small pieces, especially in a violent way, by dropping, throwing, or hitting it :

▪ Firefighters smashed a bedroom window and rescued a two-year-old girl.

▪ Her camera was smashed by soldiers when she tried to take photographs.

smash something to pieces/to bits

▪ The boat hit the rocks and was smashed to pieces by the waves.

▷ shatter /ˈʃætəʳ/ [transitive verb]

to break something, especially glass, into a lot of very small pieces :

▪ The explosion shattered office windows 500 metres away.

▪ Protesters shattered a glass door and tossed red dye around the entrance.

▷ crumble /ˈkrʌmb ə l/ [transitive verb]

to break something, especially food, into very small pieces :

▪ Beat the eggs, crumble the cheese, and mix together.

▪ Mrs. Suggs crumbled the bread into hot milk.

6. to break into a lot of pieces

▷ break into pieces/bits /ˌbreɪk ɪntə ˈpiːsə̇z, ˈbɪts/ [verb phrase]

▪ One of the mugs rolled off the table and broke into bits on the stone floor.

▪ Investigators are not sure what caused the plane to break into pieces and plunge into the ocean.

▷ break up /ˌbreɪk ˈʌp/ [intransitive phrasal verb]

if a large object breaks up, it breaks into a lot of pieces especially as a result of natural forces, or serious damage :

▪ The ice breaks up quicker near the shore.

▪ Two of the missiles apparently broke up in flight.

▪ The comet was formed when a planet broke up at some time in the distant past.

▷ fall to bits/pieces British go to pieces American /ˌfɔːl tə ˈbɪts, ˈpiːsə̇z, ˌgəʊ tə ˈpiːsə̇z/ [verb phrase]

to break into a lot of small pieces, especially because of being weak, old, or badly made :

▪ The book had been read again and again, until it finally fell to pieces.

▪ I picked the bag up, and it went to pieces in my hands.

▪ The trunk was full of old dresses, some of which were falling to pieces.

▷ fall apart/come apart /ˌfɔːl əˈpɑːʳt, ˌkʌm əˈpɑːʳt/ [intransitive phrasal verb]

to break easily into pieces, especially because of being badly made or very old :

▪ I only bought these shoes last week, and they’re falling apart already.

▪ His jacket started coming apart at the seams.

▷ disintegrate /dɪsˈɪntɪgreɪt, dɪsˈɪntəgreɪt/ [intransitive verb]

if something disintegrates, it breaks into a lot of small pieces so that it is completely destroyed or so that it completely changes its form :

▪ A 50-foot section of the roadway began to disintegrate after only a few cars had passed over it.

▪ The plane disintegrated in midair.

▪ The mummified man’s clothes had disintegrated almost completely, but appeared to be mainly of leather and fur.

▷ shatter /ˈʃætəʳ/ [intransitive verb]

if something, especially glass, shatters, it breaks suddenly into a lot of very small pieces because it has been dropped or hit :

▪ The glass had shattered, but the photograph itself was undamaged.

▪ Storefront windows shattered and roofs blew off during the hurricane.

▪ Don’t try to drive nails into the bricks, they may shatter.

shattered [adjective only before noun]

▪ There was shattered glass all over the floor.

▷ smash /smæʃ/ [intransitive verb]

to noisily break into pieces as a result of being dropped or hit :

▪ I heard something smash. What broke?

smash to pieces/bits

▪ The bottle rolled off the table and smashed to pieces on the floor.

▷ splinter /ˈsplɪntəʳ/ [intransitive verb]

if something such as wood splinters, it breaks into thin, sharp pieces :

▪ These types of wood splinter more easily than redwood or cedar.

▪ The coating helps prevent the glass from splintering if it is hit by a rock while you are driving.

splintered [adjective]

▪ the splintered remains of an old fence

▷ crumble /ˈkrʌmb ə l/ [intransitive verb]

to break easily into a powder or into small pieces, especially as a result of being old or dry :

▪ The autumn leaves crumbled in my fingers.

▪ Some of the tiles are crumbling around the edges.

crumbling [adjective]

▪ Nestling amongst the magnificent hills were the crumbling ruins of an old monastery.

▷ burst /bɜːʳst/ [intransitive verb]

if something such as a tyre or a pipe bursts, the force of the air, water etc inside makes it break into many pieces :

▪ The Concorde disaster was caused by a tyre bursting.

▪ Thousands of gallons of oil flowed into the river when an oil pipeline burst.

burst [adjective only before noun]

▪ The flood was caused by a burst pipe.

▷ blow /bləʊ/ [intransitive verb] especially American

if a tyre blows, it breaks open suddenly and all the air comes out of it :

▪ One of the tires blew and they skidded into the center divider.

7. to break a piece from the main part of something

▷ break off /ˌbreɪk ˈɒf/ [transitive phrasal verb]

to break off a piece of something :

break off something

▪ She broke off a bit of bread and dipped it in the soup.

break something off

▪ When the dough is chilled, break pieces of the dough off with your fingers, and roll into small balls.

break something off something

▪ Break a leaf off the bush, rub it between your fingers, and smell the lemony scent.

▷ chip /tʃɪp/ [transitive verb]

to accidentally break off a small piece from the edge of something, such as a cup, plate, or piece of wood :

▪ He fell off his bike and chipped his front tooth.

▪ If you don’t load the dishwasher right, it might chip some of the cups.

8. to break, so that one piece becomes separated from the main part

▷ break off /ˌbreɪk ˈɒf/ [intransitive phrasal verb]

if a part of something breaks off, it breaks and becomes separated from the main part of it :

▪ I gave it a tug and the zipper broke off.

▪ A military cargo plane made an emergency landing when one of the propellers broke off.

▪ Icebergs break off from the ice sheets and float southwards.

▷ come off /ˌkʌm ˈɒf/ [intransitive/transitive phrasal verb]

if part of something comes off it becomes separated from the main part of it because it is not fastened to it firmly enough :

▪ Can you fix the door? The handle’s come off.

come off something

▪ A wheel had come off a car, and rolled to the side of the road.

▷ come away /ˌkʌm əˈweɪ/ [intransitive phrasal verb]

to easily become separated from a surface when touched, pulled etc :

▪ The switch was attached to the plate and came away with it when I pulled.

come away from

▪ Mix until the dough comes away from the side of the bowl.

come away in somebody’s hand

become separated very easily or without you realising it

▪ Ralph pulled, and the lock came away in his hand.

9. to break a bone in your body

▷ break /breɪk/ [transitive verb]

▪ I broke my leg last time I went skiing.

▪ She slipped on the floor, it’d just been washed, and broke her hip.

▪ They thought he’d broken his back, but the X-ray showed it was okay.

▷ crack /kræk/ [transitive verb]

to partly break a bone :

▪ She slipped and cracked a rib.

▪ Freeman cracked his skull in the accident.

crack [countable noun]

▪ The X-ray showed several cracks in the bone of her left leg.

▷ fracture /ˈfræktʃəʳ/ [transitive verb]

to break or partly break a bone in your body - used especially by doctors :

▪ My grandmother fell down the stairs and fractured her ankle.

▪ He fractured both his legs in the car accident.

fracture [countable noun]

▪ More elderly women than men suffer hip fractures.

fractured [adjective only before noun]

▪ He had a fractured skull.

▷ shatter /ˈʃætəʳ/ [transitive verb]

to break a bone in someone’s body into a lot of small pieces, especially by shooting or hitting them :

▪ The nine-year-old boy was hit by a car and shattered his skull on the pavement.

▪ The bullet shattered a bone in her left forearm.

▷ bust /bʌst/ [transitive verb] especially American, informal

to break one of the bones in your body :

▪ She fell and busted her knee.

10. easily broken

▷ breakable /ˈbreɪkəb ə l/ [adjective]

objects that are breakable break easily because they are made of glass or another thin, hard material, and must be handled carefully :

▪ Put breakable objects out of the reach of children.

▪ Many laboratories spend thousands of dollars a year on breakable glass equipment.

▷ fragile /ˈfrædʒaɪlǁ-dʒ ə l/ [adjective]

not strong and therefore very easily broken or damaged :

▪ The parcel was marked FRAGILE -- HANDLE WITH CARE.

▪ The museum sends fragile porcelain objects to specialists to be restored.

▷ delicate /ˈdelɪkɪt, ˈdelɪkət/ [adjective]

something that is delicate is easily broken or damaged, especially because it is made of very thin material, and is attractive to look at :

▪ The tea was served in delicate china cups.

▪ a delicate gold necklace

▷ brittle /ˈbrɪtl/ [adjective]

hard and easily broken, especially because of being old and dry :

▪ Perming makes your hair more brittle.

▪ The building’s electrical wiring was worn and brittle, causing a fire hazard.

▷ crisp /krɪsp/ [adjective]

something that is crisp is hard, thin, and breaks easily when you press on it :

▪ The crisp, dry leaves rustled underneath her feet.

▪ Brush the tops of the loaves with cold water, which helps form the crisp crust for which French bread is famous.

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