Definition of “break down” - English Dictionary

“break down” in British English

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break down

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

(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

  • The school bus broke down and had to be towed to the nearest garage.
  • Oh no - has your washing machine broken down again?
  • I'm worried that his car has broken down, or worse still, that he's had an accident.
  • If the central heating breaks down again, I will refuse to pay the repair bill.
  • Our dishwasher broke down just a month after the guarantee had expired.

(Definition of “break down” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“break down” in American English

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break down

phrasal verb with break us /breɪk/ verb

(STOP WORKING)

to stop working or not be successful:

Our car broke down on the thruway.

break down

phrasal verb with break us /breɪk/ verb

(BECOME UPSET)

to become very upset:

The girl broke down and cried when she got a bad grade.

(Definition of “break down” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

“break down” in Business English

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break down

phrasal verb with break uk /breɪk/ us verb [ T ] broke, broken

[ I or T ] to separate, or to separate something, into smaller parts:

Can you break down our expenses by month and by region?
The data breaks down into three main categories.

[ I ] if a machine or vehicle breaks down, it stops working:

Production has been slow because the equipment keeps breaking down.

[ I ] if a system, relationship, or discussion breaks down, it fails because there is a problem or disagreement:

Negotiations with management broke down.

(Definition of “break down” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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