Definition of “breakdown” - English Dictionary

“breakdown” in British English

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breakdownnoun

uk /ˈbreɪk.daʊn/ us /ˈbreɪk.daʊn/

breakdown noun (FAILURE)

B2 [ C ] a failure to work or be successful:

I had a breakdown (= my car stopped working) in the middle of the road.
Both sides blamed each other for the breakdown of talks.
See also

More examples

  • The breakdown in negotiations will be seen as a step backwards.
  • Some children were well brought up, despite family breakdown, he admitted.
  • An immediate effect of the war was a breakdown of law and order.
  • He warned that the breakdown of the family unit would lead to an impoverished society.
  • the trauma of marriage breakdown

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

“breakdown” in American English

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breakdownnoun [ C ]

us /ˈbreɪkˌdɑʊn/

breakdown noun [ C ] (FAILURE)

a mechanical failure, or a failure in a system or a relationship:

There was evidently a breakdown in communication leading to the false report.
Their car trip was a disaster – they had frequent breakdowns and never reached their destination.

breakdown noun [ C ] (DIVISION)

a division of information into parts that belong together:

We need a breakdown of the statistics into age groups.

breakdown noun [ C ] (ANXIETY)

a condition in which you are unable to control thoughts or feelings that prevent you from living and working as you usually do:

It's about a middle-aged New York cop who is having a nervous breakdown.

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

“breakdown” in Business English

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breakdownnoun

uk /ˈbreɪkdaʊn/ us

[ C or U ] a failure to work correctly or to be successful:

The city is losing millions of dollars in lost productivity because of all of the mechanical breakdowns and system failures.
Each side blamed the other for the breakdown of the negotiations.
breakdown in sth There has been a breakdown in communication between management and staff.

US also breakout a division of something into its parts, so that you can see all the details:

I asked for a full breakdown of the costs involved in setting up a new website.

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