Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “break”

break

verb [T]
 
 
/breɪk/ (broke, broken)
to do something that is against a law, or not do something that you should do or have promised to do: break the law He didn't know he was breaking the law when he gave her the information. break a promise/agreement/contract
to bring something to an end, especially suddenly or forcefully: The company needs to break the spiral of borrowing and spending.break a strike Outside workers were hired in an attempt to break the strike.
to reach a higher level of performance than previously: break a barrier The company's market share had broken the 25% barrier for the first time.break a record Yesterday Roger broke the record for monthly sales.
US informal to exchange a large bill (= piece of paper money) for bills or coins in smaller amounts: Can you break a twenty for me, please?
break your back to work very hard: He has been breaking his back to get the project finished on time.
break even ACCOUNTING, FINANCE to have no profit or loss at the end of a business activity because you only make enough money to pay for your costs: How many copies do we need to sell to break even? After paying compensation for the damaged goods, we barely broke even.
break ground US PROPERTY to start building a new building, or to start being built: break ground on sth The company recently broke ground on its new manufacturing facility in Virginia Beach, VA. The new medical center is expected to break ground in May.
break new ground to do or discover something new: The marketing campaign on social networking sites is breaking new ground.
break the bank informal to cost too much, or spend too much money: There are insurance policies available that will not break the bank. There are ways of boosting a traditional business without breaking the bank.
(Definition of break verb from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of break?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “break” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

flair

natural ability to do something well

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More