break verb Meaning in the Cambridge Learner’s Dictionary

Meaning of “break” - Learner’s Dictionary


/breɪk/ ( past tense broke, past participle broken)
SEPARATE [I, T] A2 to separate into two or more pieces, or to make something separate into two or more pieces: The vase fell on the floor and broke. They had to break a window to get in.Separating and dividingDestroying and demolishingDamaging and spoilingTearing and breaking into pieces
break your arm/leg, etc A2 to damage a bone in your arm/leg, etc: Carolyn broke her leg in a skiing accident.Tearing and breaking into piecesProblems with bones, joints and teethDentistryThe teeth
NOT WORK [I, T] A2 If you break a machine, object, etc, or if it breaks, it stops working because it is damaged: Who broke the video?Not functioning
break an agreement/promise/rule, etc B2 to not do what you should do according to an agreement/promise/rule, etc: Police stopped him for breaking the speed limit.Making and breaking promises and commitments
break the law B2 to do something illegalObeying and breaking the lawObedient and compliantDisobedientBad and wrong behaviour
break the news to sb to tell someone about something unpleasant that has happened: Who's going to break the news to his wife?Announcing, informing and stating
break the silence B2 to make a noise, speak, etc and end a period of silence: The silence was broken by a sudden knock at the door.Saying and utteringSaying again
break a habit/routine, etc to stop doing something that you usually doHabitual behaviourStop having or doing something
break a record B2 to do something faster, better, etc than anyone else: He broke the world record for the 200m.Surpassing in quality or number
REST [I, T] B1 to stop the activity you are doing to have a short rest: Let's break for five minutes and have a drink.Cancelling and interrupting
BECOME KNOWN [I, T] If news or a story breaks, or if someone breaks it, it becomes known by the public for the first time.Media in generalAnnouncing, informing and stating
WEATHER [I] UK If the weather breaks, it changes suddenly, and usually becomes worse.Stormy weatherWind and winds
VOICE [I] When a boy's voice breaks, it becomes deeper and sounds like a man's voice.Ways of speaking
WAVE [I] When a wave breaks, it reaches its highest point as it moves towards the land, and then becomes flat and white.Waves
STORM [I] If a storm breaks, it starts suddenly.Stormy weatherWind and winds
break free/loose to suddenly escape or become separate from something: The prisoner broke free while the guards weren't looking.Running away and escapingSeparating and dividing
dawn/day breaks When dawn (= early morning)/day breaks, the sky becomes lighter because the sun is rising: Dawn was breaking and the birds were singing. →  See also break new ground , break sb's heart , break the ice , break the mould , break ranks Days and times of day
(Definition of break verb from the Cambridge Learner’s Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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