break Meaning, definition in Cambridge English Dictionary
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Meaning of "break" - English Dictionary

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uk   us   /breɪk/ (broke, broken)

break verb (DAMAGE)

A2 [I or T] to (cause something to) separate suddenly or violently into two or more pieces, or to (cause something to) stop working by being damaged: The dish fell to the floor and broke. Charles is always breaking things. She fell and broke her arm (= broke the bone in her arm). I dropped the vase and it broke into pieces. I think I've broken your phone. I picked it up and the handle broke off. We heard the sound of breaking glass.
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break verb (END)

B2 [I or T] to destroy or end something, or to come to an end: Eventually someone spoke, breaking the silence. She laughed and that broke the tension. The enemy were unable to break the code (= understand it and so make it useless). Outside workers were brought in in an attempt to break (= end) the strike.break a/the record B2 to do something better than the best known speed, time, number, etc. previously achieved: She broke the record for the 5,000 metres.
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break verb (NOT OBEY)

B2 [T] to fail to keep a law, rule, or promise: He didn't know he was breaking the law (= doing something illegal). She broke her promise/word to me (= did not do what she promised she would).
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break verb (DIVIDE)

[I or T, + adv/prep] to (cause something to) divide into two or more parts or groups: These enzymes break down food in the stomach (= cause food to separate into smaller pieces). I asked her to break her expenses down into food, travel and personal costs.
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break verb (INTERRUPT)

B1 [T] to interrupt or to stop something for a short period: We usually break for lunch at 12.30. I needed something to break the monotony of my typing job. The phone rang, breaking my concentration.UK They decided to break their journey in Singapore.
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break verb (USE FORCE)

C2 [I or T, usually + adv/prep] to go somewhere or do something by force: He threatened to break the door down (= enter using force). The horse tried to break free from its stable. In the storm the boat broke loose from its moorings. The thieves broke the safe open and stole the diamonds. The police broke up the fight (= ended it forcefully). She broke his grip and ran away.

break verb (EMOTION)

[I or T] to lose your confidence, determination, or ability to control yourself, or to make someone do this: He thought she would break under the strain. They tried to break his will (= make him lose his control) but he resisted.

break verb (BECOME KNOWN)

C2 [I or T] to become known or to make something become known: When the scandal broke (= came to the public's attention), the CEO resigned immediately. It was the local newspaper that first broke the story (= told the public).

break verb (WAVES)

[I usually + adv/prep] (of waves) to reach and move over the beach, hit a cliff or wall, etc.: A huge wave broke on/against the shore/over the boat.

break verb (WEATHER)

C2 [I] (of the weather) to change suddenly and usually become worse: The forecast is for the hot weather to break today.

break verb (STORM)

C2 [I] (of a storm) to start suddenly: We arrived just as a storm was breaking.

break verb (DAY)

dawn/day breaks When dawn or day breaks, the sun starts to appear in the sky early in the morning: Dawn broke over the city.

break verb (VOICE)

[I] When a boy's voice breaks it begins to sound like a man's: His voice broke when he was 13. [I] If someone's voice breaks, it changes because of strong emotions: Her voice was breaking with emotion as she pleaded for her child's return.

break verb (TENNIS)

break serve (in tennis) to win a game in which another player is serving (= hitting the ball first): Nadal broke Cilic's serve in the second set.

break verb (FOOTBALL)

[I] If a football team breaks, it gets the ball in its own half and attacks quickly into the opposing team's half: Blues broke quickly, catching Wolves on the back foot.


uk   us   /breɪk/

break noun (INTERRUPTION)

[C] an interruption: Finally there was a break in the rain and we went out. [C] mainly UK the short period of advertisements between television programmes: I'll make us a cup of tea in the next break.A2 [C] a short period of rest, when food or drink is sometimes eaten: a coffee breakUK a tea break a lunch/dinner break We'll take another break at 3.30. They worked through the night without a break. Do you usually take a morning/afternoon break? [U] mainly UK (also break time) the regular time in the middle of the morning or afternoon, for school students to talk or play, and sometimes have food or drink: We were talking about it at break.B1 [C] a time away from work or your regular activity, or a holiday: Take a couple of weeks off - you need a break. How long is the Christmas break this year? We decided to have a short/spring/winter/weekend break in Paris. I'll read your report over (= during) the Christmas break. I need a break from typing.give sb a break to allow someone some time away from their work or regular activities: I babysit every Friday to give her a break. informal to stop criticizing or annoying someone, or behaving in an unpleasant way: Give her a break - she's only a child and she didn't mean any harm.
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break noun (OPPORTUNITY)

C2 [C] an opportunity for improving a situation, especially one that happens unexpectedly: Her big break came when she was offered a role in a Spielberg movie.

break noun (DAMAGE)

C1 [C] a place where something has broken: There's a break in the pipe.

break noun (END)

[C] the end of a relationship, connection, or way of doing something: Their decision to not name their daughter Jane was a break with family tradition.make a break (also make the break) to stop having a close relationship with someone, especially stop living with them , or to change a course of action that you have had for a long time: You've been in your job for years - it's time you made a break. When a relationship ends, it's often best to make a clean/complete break (= suddenly and completely stop seeing each other).

break noun (SPORT)

[C] in tennis, a game won by the player who was not serving (= hitting the ball first): Murray must get another break (of serve) to win. [C] in snooker and billiards, the number of points that a player gets during one turn at hitting the balls [S] in football, an occasion when a defending team gains possession of the ball in its own half and attacks quickly into the opposing team's half

break noun (ESCAPE)

make a break (from/for) to escape from/towards somewhere or something, often by force: A group of prisoners made a break from the jail a few years back. The cat made a break for the door. When he let go, I made a break for it (= escaped quickly).
See also

break noun (MORNING)

break of day [U] literary the time when the sun rises in the morning: We set out at break of day.
See also
(Definition of break from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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SMART Thesaurus: Tearing and breaking into pieces

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