- break [brāk]vt.broke, broken, breaking [ME breken < OE brecan < IE base * bhreg- > BREACH, BREECH, Ger brechen, L frangere]1. to cause to come apart by force; split or crack sharply into pieces; smash; burst2.a) to cut open the surface of (soil, the skin, etc.)b) to fracture a bone of3. to cause the failure of by force or extralegal measures [to break a strike]4. to make unusable or inoperative by cracking, disrupting, etc.5. to tame or make obedient with or as with force6.a) to cause to get rid (of a habit)b) to get rid of (a habit)7. to lower in rank or grade; demote8.a) to reduce to poverty or bankruptcyb) to ruin the chance for success ofc) to wreck the health, spirit, etc. of9. to surpass (a record)10. to fail to follow the terms of (a law, promise, agreement, etc.); violate11.a) to open or enter by force: now chiefly in break and enterb) to escape from by force [to break prison]12. to disrupt the order or completeness of; make irregular [the troops broke formation and ran]13. to interrupt (a journey, electric circuit, etc.)14. to reduce the force of by interrupting (a fall, the wind, etc.)15. to bring to a sudden end [to break a tie]16.a) to make or create (a path, way, etc.) as by removing obstructionsb) to cut through or penetrate (silence, darkness, etc.)17. to make known; tell; disclose18.a) to decipher [to break a code]b) to succeed in solving [to break a criminal case]19. to make (a will) invalid by legal process20. to prove (an alibi) to be false21. to begin; open; start22. to exchange (a bill or coin) for smaller units23. to open (a rifle or shotgun) at the breech24. Tennis to win a game from (an opponent who is serving)vi.1. to split into pieces; come apart; burst2. to scatter; disperse [to break and run]3. to force one's way (through obstacles or resistance)4. to quarrel; stop associating (with)5. to become unusable or inoperative; go out of order6. to suffer a sudden fall in prices, financial condition, etc.7. to change suddenly, as by a sharp rise, fall, turn, shift, etc. [his voice broke; the hot spell broke]8.a) to move away suddenly [the base runner broke for second]b) to move apart, or withdraw, from a clinch in boxing☆ 9. to move into a gait other than the trot or pace required: said of a horse in harness racing10. to begin suddenly to utter, perform, etc.: with into, forth in, or out in [to break into song]11. to come suddenly into being, evidence, or general knowledge [day was breaking; the story broke]12. to appear suddenly above water, as a periscope, fish, etc.☆ 13. to stop activity temporarily [we broke for lunch]14.a) to fall apart slowly; disintegrateb) to dash apart, as a wave on the shore15. to suffer a collapse of health, vitality, spirit, etc.16. to change into a diphthong: said of vowels☆ 17. to curve, dip, or rise near the plate: said of a pitched baseball☆ 18. to begin a game of pocket billiards with a BREAK (n. 13)19. Informal to happen in a certain way [things were breaking badly]n.1. a breaking open or apart; breach; fracture2.a) a breaking in, out, or forth☆ b) a sudden move away or toward; rush; dash3. the result of a breaking; broken place; separation; crack4. a beginning or appearance [the break of day]5. an interruption of a regular or continuous arrangement, action, etc.6. the result of this; a gap, interval, pause, omission, rest, etc.7. a breach in friendly relations8. a sudden change, as in weather☆ 9. an escape, as from prison☆ 10. a sudden lowering or drop, as of prices11. an imperfection; flaw12. an unbroken series or sequence, as of points in billiards☆ 13. the opening shot in a game of pocket billiards, in which the cue ball must come into contact with at least one ball in the rack; often, a shot that scatters the racked balls☆ 14. Basketball FAST BREAK15.☆ a) a piece of luck, often specif. of good luckb) an advantage or opportunityc) exceptional or favorable treatment16. Musica) the point where one register changes to anotherb) the abrupt change in quality of a voice or instrument at this pointc) in jazz, a brief, usually improvised passage by one band member who continues to play while the others stop17. Printinga) a space between paragraphsb) the place at which a column or page of text stops, to be continued as on another column or pagec) a point at which a word is divided, as at the end of a line——————☆ break a leg!good luck!: said as to a performer, esp. in the theater——————break awayto leave suddenly; get away; escape——————break down1. to go out of working order2. to give way to tears or emotion3. to have a physical or nervous collapse4. to crush or overcome (opposition, etc.)5. to separate into parts; analyze——————☆ break evenInformal to finish as neither a winner nor a loser——————break in1. to enter forcibly or unexpectedly2. to interrupt3. to train (a beginner)☆ 4. to prepare (something new) by use or wear——————break in on or break in upon1. to intrude on2. to interrupt——————break off1. to stop abruptly, as in talking2. to stop being friendly or intimate——————break out1. to begin suddenly2. to escape suddenly3. to become covered with pimples or a rash4.a) Naut. to bring out of stowage for use [break out the foul weather gear]b) Informal to bring out (anything) for use——————break up1. to separate; disperse: also, esp. as a command, break it up2. to take apart; dismantle and scrap3. to put a stop to4. Informal to end a relationship☆ 5. Informal to distress or upset greatly☆ 6. Informal to laugh or make laugh uncontrollably——————☆ give someone a breakInformal to stop treating harshly, critically, etc.SYN.- BREAK, the most general of these terms, expresses their basic idea of separating into pieces as a result of impact, stress, etc.; SMASH and CRASH1 add connotations of suddenness, violence, and noise; CRUSH suggests a crumpling or pulverizing pressure; SHATTER, sudden fragmentation and a scattering of pieces; CRACK1, incomplete separation of parts or a sharp, snapping noise in breaking; SPLIT, separation lengthwise, as along the direction of grain or layers; FRACTURE, the breaking of a hard or rigid substance, as bone or rock; SPLINTER, the splitting of wood, etc. into long, thin, sharp pieces. All of these terms are used figuratively to imply great force or damage [to break someone's heart, smash someone's hopes, crush the opposition, shatter someone's nerves, etc. ]
English World dictionary. V. Neufeldt. 2014.