Meaning of BREAK in English
/ breɪk; NAmE / verb , noun
( broke / brəʊk; NAmE broʊk/ broken / ˈbrəʊkən; NAmE ˈbroʊkən/)
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 .
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.
[ vn ] to cut the surface of the skin and make it bleed :
The dog bit me but didn't break the skin.
LAW / PROMISE
[ 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
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) .
[ 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.
[ 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 .
[ vn ] to end a connection with sth or a relationship with sb :
He broke all links with the Communist party.
[ 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
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
[ vn ] to make sb feel so sad, lonely, etc. that they cannot live a normal life :
The death of his wife broke him completely.
[ v ] to change suddenly, usually after a period when it has been fine
[ v ] to show an opening :
The clouds broke and the sun came out.
OF DAY / DAWN / STORM
[ v ] when the day or dawn or a storm breaks , it begins :
Dawn was breaking when they finally left.
—see also daybreak
[ 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)
[ 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.
[ v ] if sb's voice breaks , it changes its tone because of emotion :
Her voice broke as she told us the dreadful news.
[ v ] when a boy's voice breaks , it becomes permanently deeper at about the age of 13 or 14
[ 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.
[ 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.
[ vn ] to find the meaning of sth secret :
to break a code
[ vn ] ( especially NAmE ) to change a banknote for coins :
Can you break a twenty-dollar bill?
Idioms containing break are at the entries for the nouns and adjectives in the idioms, for example break sb's heart is at heart .
- 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
SHORT STOP / PAUSE
[ 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.
(also ˈbreak time ) (both BrE ) ( NAmE re·cess ) [ U ] a period of time between lessons at school :
Come and see me at break.
[ 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.
[ C ] a pause for advertisements in the middle of a television or radio programme :
More news after the break.
HOLIDAY / VACATION
[ C ] a short holiday / vacation :
We had a weekend break in New York.
a well-earned break
CHANGE IN SITUATION
[ 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
[ 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.
[ 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.
[ C ] a place where sth, especially a bone in your body, has broken :
The X-ray showed there was no break in his leg.
(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
[ 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 )
- break of day / dawn
- give me a break!
- give sb a break
- make a break for sth / for it
—more at clean adjective
rest ♦ breather ♦ breathing space ♦ respite ♦ time out
These are all words for a short period of time spent relaxing.
a short period of time when you stop what you are doing and rest or eat:
Let's take a break .
In British English break is a period of time between lessons at school. The North American English word is recess .
a period of relaxing, sleeping or doing nothing after a period of activity:
We stopped for a well-earned rest.
( informal ) a short pause in an activity to rest or relax:
a five-minute breather
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.
a short break from sth difficult or unpleasant:
The drug brought a brief respite from the pain.
( informal , especially NAmE ) time for resting or relaxing away from your usual work or studies:
Take time out to relax by the pool.
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.
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. 2005