Meaning of BROKEN in English


I. bro ‧ ken 1 /ˈbrəʊkən $ ˈbroʊ/ BrE AmE

the past participle of ↑ break

II. broken 2 BrE AmE adjective

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ break , ↑ outbreak , ↑ breakage ; adjective : ↑ breakable ≠ ↑ unbreakable , ↑ broken ≠ ↑ unbroken ; verb : ↑ break ]

1 . PIECE OF EQUIPMENT not working properly:

The CD player’s broken again.

Do you know how the phone got broken (=became broken) ?

2 . OBJECT in small pieces because it has been hit, dropped etc:

Mind the broken glass.

Wrap it up well so it doesn’t get broken (=become broken) in the mail.

3 . BONE cracked because you have had an accident:

a badly broken leg

Gibbs had an X-ray, which revealed no broken bones.

4 . NOT CONTINUOUS interrupted and not continuous:

a broken white line

a long noisy night of broken sleep

5 . PERSON extremely weak mentally or physically because you have suffered a lot:

He returned from the war a broken man.

6 . broken English/French etc if you speak in broken English, French etc, you speak slowly and make a lot of mistakes because you know only a little of the language

7 . broken home a family that no longer lives together because the parents have ↑ divorce d :

The majority of offenders do not come from broken homes.

8 . broken marriage a marriage that has ended because the husband and wife do not live together anymore

9 . a broken heart a feeling of extreme sadness, especially because someone you love has died or left you:

I reckon she died of a broken heart.

• • •


▪ broken something that is broken has become separated into pieces, for example by being hit or dropped:

The floor was covered in broken glass.


This suitcase is no good – the handle’s broken.


The birds had gotten into the cabin through a broken window.


In the corner of the room were a broken chair and a rickety old desk.

▪ out of order [not before noun] if a machine, especially one used by the public, is out of order, it is not working for a temporary period:

Every phone I tried was out of order.


The toilets were all out of order.

▪ down [not before noun] if a computer system is down, it is not working:

The computer system was down all afternoon, so we went home.

| go down (=stop working) :

The network went down at 11:00 and we lost the whole morning’s work.

▪ on the blink ( also on the fritz American English ) [not before noun] informal if a piece of electrical equipment is on the blink, it sometimes works and sometimes does not:

My TV’s on the blink again.

| go on the blink/fritz :

The car’s air conditioning went on the fritz just as we reached Dallas.

▪ there’s something wrong with something used when saying that a car, machine etc does not work properly and you do not know why:

There’s something wrong with my car; I think it might be the battery.


There was something wrong with the photocopier, so we called in the service company.

| have something wrong with it :

If the VCR has something wrong with it, take it back to the store.

▪ something has had it informal used when saying that a car, machine etc is completely broken and cannot be repaired:

I’m afraid the bike’s had it.

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