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English definition of “break”

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break

verb  /breɪk/ us  

break verb (DAMAGE)

[I/T] ( past tense broke  /broʊk/, past participle broken  /ˈbroʊ·kən/) to separate something suddenly or violently into two or more pieces, or to stop working by being damaged: [T] I broke a glass in the kitchen and have to vacuum it up. [I] Our toaster broke, so we have to get a new one. [M] The police broke the door down to get into the apartment. [I/T] ( past tense broke  /broʊk/, past participle broken  /ˈbroʊ·kən/) If you break a part of your body, you damage a bone which cracks or separates into pieces: [T] The top women’s downhill skier broke her leg in a freak collision. [I/T] ( past tense broke  /broʊk/, past participle broken  /ˈbroʊ·kən/) If you break a bill of a particular amount of money, you exchange it for smaller bills whose total equals the amount of your bill: [T] Can you break a $50 bill for me?

break verb (INTERRUPT)

[I/T] ( past tense broke  /broʊk/, past participle broken  /ˈbroʊ·kən/) to interrupt or to stop something for a brief period: [I] Let’s continue for another ten minutes and then break for lunch.

break verb (END)

[I/T] ( past tense broke  /broʊk/, past participle broken  /ˈbroʊ·kən/) to end or change something, or to stop: [I] Cheryl found the habit of drinking a lot of coffee hard to break. [T] She broke the record for the 5000 meters (= she did better than the record). [T] They worked hard to break the deadlock in the negotiations.

break verb (SEPARATE)

[I/T] ( past tense broke  /broʊk/, past participle broken  /ˈbroʊ·kən/) to escape or separate from something or someone suddenly: [I always + adv/prep] The dog broke free and ran into traffic. [I always + adv/prep] The handle on the teapot just broke off.

break verb (NOT OBEY)

[T] ( past tense broke  /broʊk/, past participle broken  /ˈbroʊ·kən/) to fail to obey or follow a law, rule, or promise: He didn’t know he was breaking the law. My daughter got sick and I had to break my appointment.

break verb (MAKE KNOWN)

[I/T] ( past tense broke  /broʊk/, past participle broken  /ˈbroʊ·kən/) to become known or cause something to be known, usually to the public: [T] The newspaper reporters who broke the story won the Pulitzer prize. [I] People wept when the news broke that the plant was closing for good.

break verb (MOVE)

[I] (of a wave moving toward land) to suddenly change from a rising curl of water, sometimes showing white, to a layer that spreads out on reaching land

break

noun  /breɪk/ us  

break noun (OPPORTUNITY)

[C] an opportunity for improving a situation, esp. one that happens unexpectedly: Getting that first job was a lucky break.

break noun (DAMAGED PLACE)

[C] a place in the surface of something where it has cracked from damage: A break in a water main caused a whole section of the city to flood. [C] A break in a bone is a place where it has cracked or separated into pieces.

break noun (INTERRUPTION)

[C] an interruption, esp. in a regular activity, or a short period of rest when food or drink is sometimes eaten: a lunch/coffee break a break in the heat wave [C] A break is also a time away from work or school, or a vacation: I went skiing in the mountains during spring break (= period in early spring when school classes temporarily stop).

break noun (EARLY MORNING)

[U] a time early in the morning when the sun is rising: We set out at the break of day.
(Definition of break from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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