Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “break down”

See all translations

break down

verb uk phrasal verb with break   /breɪk/ (broke, broken) us  

(MACHINE)

B2 If a machine or vehicle breaks down, it stops working: Our car broke down and we had to push it off the road.
More examples

(COMMUNICATION)

If a system, relationship, or discussion breaks down, it fails because there is a problem or disagreement.

(CRY)

to be unable to control your feelings and to start to cry: When we gave her the bad news, she broke down and cried.
(Definition of break down from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of break down?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “break down” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

bad/hard/tough luck

said to express sympathy with someone when something bad has happened to them

Word of the Day

Think long and hard; the language of decisions

by Liz Walter,
January 28, 2015
One of the best ways (perhaps the best way) to improve your English is to learn how words go together in phrases, idioms, or other patterns such as verb/noun or adjective/noun pairs (often called ‘collocations’). This blog looks at some useful phrases and collocations connected with the subject of decisions, something we

Read More 

micro pig noun

January 26, 2015
an extremely small pig, bred to be a pet Micro pigs have become popular pets recently, with famous owners including Victoria Beckham, Paris Hilton and Olympic diver, Tom Daley.

Read More