Meaning of BRAKE in English

I. brake 1 /breɪk/ BrE AmE noun [countable]

1 . [often plural] a piece of equipment that makes a vehicle go more slowly or stop:

Test your brakes after driving through water.

I managed to put the brakes on just in time.

Moira slammed on the brakes (=used them suddenly and with a lot of force) .

apply the brakes formal :

He applied the brakes but failed to stop in time.

the rear/front brakes

the screech of brakes (=the loud unpleasant noise they can make)

⇨ ↑ anti-lock braking system , ↑ emergency brake , ↑ handbrake , ↑ parking brake

2 . act as a brake on something to make something develop more slowly, be more difficult to do, or happen less:

Rises in interest rates act as a brake on expenditure.

3 . put the brakes on something to stop something that is happening

• • •


■ verbs

▪ put the brakes on (=use the brakes)

Put the brakes on – you’re going too fast.

▪ apply the brakes formal (=use them)

Apply the brakes as you approach the roundabout.

▪ slam on/jam on/hit the brakes (=use them suddenly and with a lot of force)

The car in front stopped suddenly and I had to slam on the brakes.

▪ release the brake (=stop using the foot or hand brake)

The traffic lights turned green and I released the brake.

▪ brakes fail (=do not work when you use them)

Going down the mountain I was afraid the brakes might fail.

▪ brakes screech (=make a high noise when you use them)

The brakes screeched and the train finally stopped.


▪ faulty (=not working properly)

Faulty brakes may have caused the accident.


The brakes could have been faulty.

▪ the rear/front brakes (=for the rear/front wheels)

The rear brakes were ineffective.

▪ the foot brake (=one you apply with your foot, to slow the car down)

He stamped on the foot brake.

▪ the hand brake ( also the emergency brake , the parking brake American English ) (=one you apply with your hand, to stop the car moving when parked)

I tried to drive off with the hand brake still on.

▪ anti-lock brakes (=that do not cause the wheels to lock and skid if the brakes are used suddenly)

The car comes equipped with anti-lock brakes.

■ brake + NOUN

▪ the brake pedal (=that you press with your foot)

She pressed the brake pedal but nothing happened.

▪ brake failure (=when brakes do not work)

What should you do in the event of a brake failure?

■ phrases

▪ the screech of brakes (=the loud unpleasant sound of a car stopping suddenly)

I heard the screech of brakes in the road outside.

II. brake 2 BrE AmE verb [intransitive]

to make a vehicle or bicycle go more slowly or stop by using its brake

brake sharply/hard (=brake quickly)

He braked sharply to avoid the dog.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.