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to smash, split, or divide into parts violently; reduce to pieces or fragments:
He broke a vase.
to infringe, ignore, or act contrary to (a law, rule, promise, etc.):
She broke her promise.
to dissolve or annul (often followed by off):
to break off friendly relations with another country.
to fracture a bone of (some part of the body):
He broke his leg.
to lacerate; wound:
to break the skin.
to destroy or interrupt the regularity, uniformity, continuity, or arrangement of; interrupt:
The bleating of a foghorn broke the silence. The troops broke formation.
to put an end to; overcome; stop:
His touchdown run broke the tie. She found it hard to break the cigarette habit.
to discover the system, key, method, etc., for decoding or deciphering (a cryptogram), especially by the methods of cryptanalysis.
to remove a part from (a set or collection):
She had to break the set to sell me the two red ones I wanted.
to exchange for or divide into smaller units or components:
She broke a dollar bill into change. The prism broke the light into all the colors of the rainbow.
to make a way through; penetrate:
The stone broke the surface of the water.

to open or force one’s way into (a dwelling, store, etc.).
to contest (a will) successfully by judicial action.

to make one’s way out of, especially by force:
to break jail.
to better (a given score or record):
He never broke 200 in bowling or 80 in golf.
to disclose or divulge personally in speech or writing:
He broke the good news to her at dinner.
to solve:
The police needed only a week to break that case.
to rupture (a blood vessel):
She almost broke a blood vessel from laughing so hard.
to disable or destroy by or as if by shattering or crushing:
to break a watch.
to cause (a blister, boil, or the like) to burst, as by puncturing:
She broke the blister with a needle.
to ruin financially; make bankrupt:
They threatened to break him if he didn’t stop discounting their products.
to overcome or wear down the spirit, strength, or resistance of; to cause to yield, especially under pressure, torture, or the like:
They broke him by the threat of blackmail.
to dismiss or reduce in rank.
to impair or weaken the power, effect, or intensity of:
His arm broke the blow.
to train to obedience; tame:
to break a horse.
to train away from a habit or practice (usually followed by of).
Electricity. to render (a circuit) incomplete; stop the flow of (a current).

to release (a story) for publication or airing on radio or television:
They will break the story tomorrow.
to continue (a story or article) on another page, especially when the page is not the following one.

Pool. to cause (racked billiard balls) to scatter by striking with the cue ball.

(of a pitcher, bowler, etc.) to hurl (a ball) in such a way as to cause it to change direction after leaving the hand:
He broke a curve over the plate for a strike.
(in tennis and other racket games) to score frequently or win against (an opponent’s serve).

Nautical. to unfurl (a flag) suddenly by an easily released knot.
to prove the falsity or show the lack of logic of:
The FBI broke his alibi by proving he knew how to shoot a pistol.
to begin or initiate (a plan or campaign), especially with much publicity:
They were going to break the sales campaign with a parade in April.
to open the breech or action of (a shotgun, rifle, or revolver), as by snapping open the hinge between the barrel and the butt.
to shatter, burst, or become broken; separate into parts or fragments, especially suddenly and violently:
The glass broke on the floor.
to become suddenly discontinuous or interrupted; stop abruptly:
She pulled too hard and the string broke.
to become detached, separated, or disassociated (usually followed by away, off, or from):
The knob broke off in his hand.
to become inoperative or to malfunction, as through wear or damage:
The television set broke this afternoon.
to begin suddenly or violently or change abruptly into something else:
War broke over Europe.
to begin uttering a sound or series of sounds or to be uttered suddenly:
She broke into song. When they entered, a cheer broke from the audience.
to express or start to express an emotion or mood:
His face broke into a smile.
to free oneself or escape suddenly, as from restraint or dependency (often followed by away):
He broke away from the arresting officer. She finally broke away from her parents and got an apartment of her own.
to run or dash toward something suddenly (usually followed by for):
The pass receiver broke for the goal line.
to force a way (usually followed by in, into, or through):
The hunters broke through the underbrush.
to burst or rupture:
A blood vessel broke in his nose. The blister broke when he pricked it.
to interrupt or halt an activity (usually followed by in, into, forth, or from):
Don’t break in on the conversation. Let’s break for lunch.
to appear or arrive suddenly (usually followed by in, into, or out):
A deer broke into the clearing. A rash broke out on her arm.
to dawn:
The day broke hot and sultry.
to begin violently and suddenly:
The storm broke.
(of a storm, foul weather, etc.) to cease:
The weather broke after a week, and we were able to sail for home.
to part the surface of water, as a jumping fish or surfacing submarine.
to give way or fail, as health, strength, or spirit; collapse:
After years of hardship and worry, his health broke.
to yield or submit to pressure, torture, or the like:
He broke under questioning.
(of the heart) to be overwhelmed with sorrow:
Her heart broke when he told her that he no longer loved her.
(of the voice or a musical instrument) to change harshly from one register or pitch to another:
After his voice broke, he could no longer sing soprano parts.
(of the voice) to cease, waver, or change tone abruptly, especially from emotional strain:
His voice broke when he mentioned her name.
(of value or prices) to drop sharply and considerably.
to disperse or collapse by colliding with something:
The waves broke on the shore.
to break dance.
(of a horse in a harness race) to fail to keep to a trot or pace, as by starting to gallop.
Botany. to mutate; sport.
Linguistics. to undergo breaking.
Billiards, Pool. to make a break; take the first turn in a game.
Sports. (of a pitched or bowled ball) to change direction:
The ball broke over the plate.
Horse Racing, Track. to leave the starting point:
The horses broke fast from the gate.
Boxing. to step back or separate from a clinch:
The fighters fell into a clinch and broke on the referee’s order.
to take place; occur.
Journalism. to become known, published, or aired:
The story broke in the morning papers.
Horticulture. to produce flowers or leaves.
an act or instance of breaking; disruption or separation of parts; fracture; rupture:
There was a break in the window.
an opening made by breaking; gap:
The break in the wall had not been repaired.
a rush away from a place; an attempt to escape:
a break for freedom.
a sudden dash or rush, as toward something:
When the rain lessened, I made a break for home.
a suspension of or sudden rupture in friendly relations.
an interruption of continuity; departure from or rupture with:
Abstract painters made a break with the traditions of the past.
an abrupt or marked change, as in sound or direction, or a brief pause:
They noticed a curious break in his voice.

an opportunity or stroke of fortune, especially a lucky one.
a chance to improve one’s lot, especially one unlooked for or undeserved.

the breaks, Informal. the way things happen; fate:
Sorry to hear about your bad luck, but I guess those are the breaks.
a brief rest, as from work:
The actors took a ten-minute break from rehearsal.
Radio, Television. a brief, scheduled interruption of a program or broadcasting period for the announcement of advertising or station identification.
Prosody. a pause or caesura.
Jazz. a solo passage, usually of from 2 to 12 bars, during which the rest of the instruments are silent.
Music. the point in the scale where the quality of voice of one register changes to that of another, as from chest to head.
break dancing.
a sharp and considerable drop in the prices of stock issues.
Electricity. an opening or discontinuity in a circuit.

one or more blank lines between two paragraphs.
breaks, suspension points.

the place, after a letter, where a word is or may be divided at the end of a line.
a collapse of health, strength, or spirit; breakdown.
Informal. an indiscreet or awkward remark or action; social blunder; faux pas.
Billiards, Pool. a series of successful strokes; run.
Pool. the opening play, in which the cue ball is shot to scatter the balls.
Sports. a change in direction of a pitched or bowled ball.
Horse Racing, Track. the start of a race.
(in harness racing) an act or instance of a horse’s changing from a trot or pace into a gallop or other step.
Bowling. a failure to knock down all ten pins in a single frame.
Boxing. an act or instance of stepping back or separating from a clinch:
a clean break.
any of several stages in the grinding of grain in which the bran is separated from the kernel.
Botany. a sport.
Journalism. the point at the bottom of a column where a printed story is carried over to another column or page.
Nautical. the place at which a superstructure, deckhouse, or the like, rises from the main deck of a vessel.
breaks, Physical Geography. an area dissected by small ravines and gullies.
Mining. a fault or offset, as in a vein or bed of ore.
break away,

to leave or escape, especially suddenly or hurriedly.
to sever connections or allegiance, as to tradition or a political group.
to start prematurely:
The horse broke away from the starting gate.

break back, Tennis. to win a game served by an opponent immediately after the opponent has done so against one’s own serve.
break down,

to become ineffective.
to lose control; weaken:
He broke down and wept at the sad news.
to have a physical or mental collapse.
to cease to function:
The car broke down.
to itemize:
to break down a hotel bill into daily charges.
Chemistry. to separate (a compound) into its constituent molecules.
Electricity. (of an insulator) to fail, as when subjected to excessively high voltage, permitting a current to pass.
to decompose.
to analyze.
to classify.
to separate into constituent parts:
to break down a beef carcass into basic cuts.

break in,

to enter by force or craft:
Someone broke in and made off with all the furniture.
to train or instruct; initiate:
The boss is breaking in a new assistant.
to begin to wear or use in order to make comfortable:
These shoes haven’t been broken in.
to interrupt:
He broke in with a ridiculous objection.
to run (new machinery) initially under reduced load and speed, until any stiffness of motion has departed and all parts are ready to operate under normal service conditions; run in; wear in.

break in on/upon, to enter with force upon or accidentally interrupt; intrude upon:
The visitor opened the wrong door and broke in on a private conference.
break into,

to interpose; interrupt:
He broke into the conversation at a crucial moment.
to begin some activity.
to be admitted into; enter, as a business or profession:
It is difficult to break into the theater.
to enter by force:
They broke into the store and stole the safe.

break off,

to sever by breaking.
to stop suddenly; discontinue:
to break off a conversation; to break off relations with one’s neighbors.

break out,

to begin abruptly; arise:
An epidemic broke out.
Pathology. (of certain diseases) to appear in eruptions.
(of a person) to manifest a skin eruption.
to prepare for use:
to break out the parachutes.
to take out of (storage, concealment, etc.) for consumption:
to break out one’s best wine.
Nautical. to dislodge (the anchor) from the bottom.
to escape; flee:
He spent three years in prison before he broke out.
to separate into categories or list specific items:
to break out gift ideas according to price range; The report breaks out quarterly profits and losses.

break up,

to separate; scatter.
to put an end to; discontinue.
to divide or become divided into pieces.
to dissolve.
to disrupt; upset:
Television commercials during a dramatic presentation break up the continuity of effect.
(of a personal relationship) to end:
to break up a friendship; Their marriage broke up last year.
to end a personal relationship:
Bob and Mary broke up last month.
to be or cause to be overcome with laughter:
The comedian told several jokes that broke up the audience.

break with,

to sever relations with; separate from:
to break with one’s family.
to depart from; repudiate:
to break with tradition.

break bulk, Nautical. to remove a cargo wholly or in part.
break camp, to pack up tents and equipment and resume a journey or march:
They broke camp at dawn and proceeded toward the mountains.
break even, to finish a business transaction, period of gambling, series of games, etc., with no loss or gain:
He played poker all night and broke even.
break ground,

to begin construction, especially of a building or group of buildings:
to break ground for a new housing development.
Nautical. to free an anchor from the bottom; break out.

break it down, Australian Slang.

stop it; calm down.
(used as an exclamation of disbelief) that can’t be true!

break someone’s heart, to cause someone great disappointment or sorrow, as to disappoint in love:
It breaks my heart to hear you are leaving me.
break service, Tennis. to win a game served by one’s opponent.
break sheer, Nautical. (of an anchored vessel) to drift into such a position as to risk fouling the anchor or anchor cable.
Compare sheer2 (def 6).
break step. step (def 38).
break wind, to expel gas from the stomach and bowels through the anus.
give me a break, Informal. (used to express annoyance, disbelief, etc.):
He didn’t show up again? Oh, give me a break!
the solid surface of the earth; firm or dry land:
to fall to the ground.
earth or soil:
stony ground.
land having an indicated character:
rising ground.
Often, grounds. a tract of land appropriated to a special use:
picnic grounds; a hunting ground.
Often, grounds. the foundation or basis on which a belief or action rests; reason or cause:
grounds for dismissal.
subject for discussion; topic:
Sex education is forbidden ground in some school curricula.
rational or factual support for one’s position or attitude, as in a debate or argument:
on firm ground; on shaky ground.
the main surface or background in painting, decorative work, lace, etc.
Fine Arts.

a coating of some substance serving as a surface for paint, ink, or other media in art:
Lead white is a traditional ground for oil paintings.
ground color (def 2).

(in perception) the background in a visual field, contrasted with the figure.
Also called etching ground. an acid-resistant substance, composed of wax, gum, and resin in varying proportions, applied to the entire surface of an etching plate and through which the design is drawn with an etching needle.
grounds, dregs or sediment:
coffee grounds.
grounds, the gardens, lawn, etc., surrounding and belonging to a building.
Electricity. a conducting connection between an electric circuit or equipment and the earth or some other conducting body.
Music. ground bass.
Nautical. the bottom of a body of water.
the earth’s solid or liquid surface; land or water.

a strip of wood to which woodwork can be attached, set flush with the plaster finish of a room.
a strip of wood or length of corner bead used at an opening as a stop for plasterwork.

situated on or at, or adjacent to, the surface of the earth:
a ground attack.
pertaining to the ground.
Military. operating on land:
ground forces.
to lay or set on the ground.
to place on a foundation; fix firmly; settle or establish; found.
to instruct in elements or first principles:
to ground students in science.
to furnish with a ground or background, as on decorative work.
to cover (wallpaper) with colors or other materials before printing.
Electricity. to establish a ground for (a circuit, device, etc.).
Nautical. to cause (a vessel) to run aground.
Aeronautics. to restrict (an aircraft or the like) to the ground because of bad weather, the unsatisfactory condition of the aircraft, etc.
to forbid (a pilot) to fly because of bad health, failure to comply with safety regulations, or the like.
Informal. to put out of action or make unable to participate:
The quarterback was grounded by a knee injury.
Informal. to restrict the activities, especially the social activities, of:
I can’t go to the party—my parents have grounded me until my grades improve.
to come to or strike the ground.

to hit a ground ball.
to ground out.

ground out, Baseball. to be put out at first base after hitting a ground ball to the infield.
break ground,

to plow.
to begin excavation for a construction project.
to begin upon or take preparatory measures for any undertaking.

cover ground,

to pass or travel over a certain area.
to make a certain amount of progress in dealing with a piece of work, subject, treatise, or the like:
He talked for two hours without covering much ground.

cut the ground from under, to render (an argument, position, person, etc.) ineffective or invalid; refute:
It didn’t require much effort to cut the ground from under that case.
from the ground up,

gradually from the most elementary level to the highest level:
She learned the business from the ground up.
extensively; thoroughly:
The professor knew his subject from the ground up.

gain ground,

to make progress; advance.
to gain approval or acceptance:
The case for air-pollution control is gaining ground throughout the country.

give ground, to yield to force or forceful argument; retreat:
The disarmament talks reached an impasse when neither side would give ground on inspection proposals.
hold / stand one’s ground, to maintain one’s position; be steadfast:
The referee stood his ground, though his decision was hotly contested by the crowd.
into the ground, beyond a reasonable or necessary point:
You’ve stated your case, and you needn’t run it into the ground.
lose ground,

to retreat or be forced back.
to lose one’s advantage; suffer a reverse.
to wane in popularity or acceptance; begin to fail:
Our candidate is losing ground in industrial areas.

off the ground, Informal. into action or well under way:
The play never got off the ground.
on one’s own ground, in an area or situation that one knows well.
on the ground, at the place of interest or importance; actively engaged:
Minutes after the bank robbery reporters were on the ground to get the story.
shift ground, to change position in an argument or situation.
suit down to the ground, to be perfectly satisfactory; please greatly:
This climate suits me down to the ground.
take the ground, Nautical. to become grounded at low water.
to ground,

into a den, burrow, shelter, or the like:
a fox gone to ground.
into concealment or hiding:
Rather than take the witness stand, she went to ground in another country.

Contemporary Examples

A Teen’s Third-World America Eliza Griswold December 25, 2010
DC Rents Are Falling. Are House Prices Next? Megan McArdle January 10, 2013

Historical Examples

Heroes and Hero Worship Thomas Carlyle
Over Paradise Ridge Maria Thompson Daviess
Bentley’s Miscellany, Volume II Various
The Confessions of Harry Lorrequer, Complete Charles James Lever (1806-1872)
Life’s Handicap Rudyard Kipling
The Ruined Cities of Zululand Hugh Mulleneux Walmsley
American Prisoners of the Revolution Danske Dandridge
The Ruined Cities of Zululand Hugh Mulleneux Walmsley

verb breaks, breaking, broke, broken
to separate or become separated into two or more pieces: this cup is broken
to damage or become damaged so as to be inoperative: my radio is broken
to crack or become cracked without separating
to burst or cut the surface of (skin, etc)
to discontinue or become discontinued: they broke for lunch, to break a journey
to disperse or become dispersed: the clouds broke
(transitive) to fail to observe (an agreement, promise, law, etc): to break one’s word
(foll by with) to discontinue an association (with)
to disclose or be disclosed: he broke the news gently
(transitive) to fracture (a bone) in (a limb, etc)
(transitive) to divide (something complete or perfect): to break a set of books
to bring or come to an end: the summer weather broke at last
(transitive) to bring to an end by or as if by force: to break a strike
when intr, often foll by out. to escape (from): he broke jail, he broke out of jail
to weaken or overwhelm or be weakened or overwhelmed, as in spirit
(transitive) to cut through or penetrate: a cry broke the silence
(transitive) to improve on or surpass: to break a record
(transitive) often foll by in. to accustom (a horse) to the bridle and saddle, to being ridden, etc
(transitive) often foll by of. to cause (a person) to give up (a habit): this cure will break you of smoking
(transitive) to weaken the impact or force of: this net will break his fall
(transitive) to decipher: to break a code
(transitive) to lose the order of: to break ranks
(transitive) to reduce to poverty or the state of bankruptcy
when intr, foll by into. to obtain, give, or receive smaller units in exchange for; change: to break a pound note
(transitive) (mainly military) to demote to a lower rank
(intransitive; often foll by from or out of) to proceed suddenly
(intransitive) to come into being: light broke over the mountains
(intransitive; foll by into or out into)

to burst into song, laughter, etc
to change to a faster pace

(transitive) to open with explosives: to break a safe
(intransitive) (of waves)

(often foll by against) to strike violently
to collapse into foam or surf

(intransitive) (esp of fish) to appear above the surface of the water
(intransitive) (of the amniotic fluid surrounding an unborn baby) to be released when the amniotic sac ruptures in the first stage of labour: her waters have broken
(intransitive) (informal, mainly US) to turn out in a specified manner: things are breaking well
(intransitive) (of prices, esp stock exchange quotations) to fall sharply
(intransitive) to make a sudden effort, as in running, horse racing, etc
(intransitive) (cricket) (of a ball) to change direction on bouncing
(transitive) (cricket) (of a player) to knock down at least one bail from (a wicket)
(intransitive) (billiards, snooker) to scatter the balls at the start of a game
(intransitive) (horse racing) to commence running in a race: they broke even
(intransitive) (boxing, wrestling) (of two fighters) to separate from a clinch
(intransitive) (music)

(of the male voice) to undergo a change in register, quality, and range at puberty
(of the voice or some instruments) to undergo a change in tone, quality, etc, when changing registers

(intransitive) (phonetics) (of a vowel) to turn into a diphthong, esp as a development in the language
(transitive) to open the breech of (certain firearms) by snapping the barrel away from the butt on its hinge
(transitive) to interrupt the flow of current in (an electrical circuit) Compare make1 (sense 27)
(intransitive) (informal, mainly US) to become successful; make a breakthrough
break bread

to eat a meal, esp with others
(Christianity) to administer or participate in Holy Communion

break camp, to pack up equipment and leave a camp
break ground, break new ground, to do something that has not been done before
to overwork or work very hard
break the back of, to complete the greatest or hardest part of (a task)
break the bank, to ruin financially or deplete the resources of a bank (as in gambling)
break the ice

to relieve shyness or reserve, esp between strangers
to be the first of a group to do something

break the mould, to make a change that breaks an established habit, pattern, etc
(tennis) break service, to win a game in which an opponent is serving
break wind, to emit wind from the anus
the act or result of breaking; fracture
a crack formed as the result of breaking
a brief respite or interval between two actions: a break from one’s toil
a sudden rush, esp to escape: to make a break for freedom
a breach in a relationship: she has made a break from her family
any sudden interruption in a continuous action
(Brit) a short period between classes at school US and Canadian equivalent recess
(informal) a fortunate opportunity, esp to prove oneself
(informal) a piece of (good or bad) luck
(esp in a stock exchange) a sudden and substantial decline in prices
(prosody) a pause in a line of verse; caesura
(billiards, snooker)

a series of successful shots during one turn
the points scored in such a series

(billiards, snooker)

the opening shot with the cue ball that scatters the placed balls
the right to take this first shot

(tennis) Also called service break, break of serve. the act or instance of breaking an opponent’s service
one of the intervals in a sporting contest
(horse racing) the start of a race: an even break
(in tenpin bowling) failure to knock down all the pins after the second attempt

(jazz) a short usually improvised solo passage
an instrumental passage in a pop song

a discontinuity in an electrical circuit
access to a radio channel by a citizens’ band operator
a variant spelling of brake1 (sense 6)
(boxing, wrestling) a command by a referee for two opponents to separate
the land surface
earth or soil: he dug into the ground outside his house
(pl) the land around a dwelling house or other building
(sometimes pl) an area of land given over to a purpose: football ground, burial grounds
land having a particular characteristic: level ground, high ground
matter for consideration or debate; field of research or inquiry: the lecture was familiar ground to him, the report covered a lot of ground
a position or viewpoint, as in an argument or controversy (esp in the phrases give ground, hold, stand, or shift one’s ground)
position or advantage, as in a subject or competition (esp in the phrases gain ground, lose ground, etc)
(often pl) reason; justification: grounds for complaint

the prepared surface applied to the support of a painting, such as a wall, canvas, etc, to prevent it reacting with or absorbing the paint
the support of a painting
the background of a painting or main surface against which the other parts of a work of art appear superimposed

the first coat of paint applied to a surface
(as modifier): ground colour

the bottom of a river or the sea
(pl) sediment or dregs, esp from coffee
(mainly Brit) the floor of a room

the area from the popping crease back past the stumps, in which a batsman may legally stand
ground staff

See ground bass
a mesh or network supporting the main pattern of a piece of lace
(electrical, US & Canadian)

a connection between an electrical circuit or device and the earth, which is at zero potential
Also called earth. a terminal to which this connection is made

above ground, alive
below ground, dead and buried
break new ground, to do something that has not been done before
cut the ground from under someone’s feet, to anticipate someone’s action or argument and thus make it irrelevant or meaningless
(Brit, informal) to the ground, down to the ground, completely; absolutely: it suited him down to the ground
(informal) get off the ground, to make a beginning, esp one that is successful
go to ground, to go into hiding
into the ground, beyond what is requisite or can be endured; to exhaustion
meet someone on his own ground, to meet someone according to terms he has laid down himself
the high ground, the moral high ground, a position of moral or ethical superiority in a dispute
touch ground

(of a ship) to strike the sea bed
to arrive at something solid or stable after discussing or dealing with topics that are abstract or inconclusive

(modifier) situated on, living on, or used on the ground: ground frost, ground forces
(modifier) concerned with or operating on the ground, esp as distinct from in the air: ground crew, ground hostess
(modifier) (used in names of plants) low-growing and often trailing or spreading
(transitive) to put or place on the ground
(transitive) to instruct in fundamentals
(transitive) to provide a basis or foundation for; establish
(transitive) to confine (an aircraft, pilot, etc) to the ground
(transitive) (informal) to confine (a child) to the house as a punishment
the usual US word for earth (sense 16)
(transitive) (nautical) to run (a vessel) aground
(transitive) to cover (a surface) with a preparatory coat of paint
(intransitive) to hit or reach the ground
the past tense and past participle of grind
having the surface finished, thickness reduced, or an edge sharpened by grinding
reduced to fine particles by grinding

An escape or attempt to escape (1830s+)
A brief period of rest or relaxation: Take a five-minute break (1860s+)
A stroke of luck, good or bad • Probably fr the break in billiards, when balls arrange themselves in either a good or bad way: I got a break and made it on time/ Football’s a game of breaks to some extent (1911+)
A stroke of mercy or favor: Give me one break and I’ll never flunk again
An improvised passage; solo; lick (1930s+ Jazz musicians)

: Let’s break while I think about it all
To interrupt or abandon some regular practice: to break training/ break an old routine (1400+)
To happen; occur; fall out: If things break right I’ll be OK (1914+)
To tame a wild horse; subdue someone’s spirit (late 1400s+)
To bankrupt a company or person (1612+)
To demote; reduce in rank; bust: They broke him back to buck private (late 1600s+)
To separate, esp from a clinch: The boxers broke and came at each other again (1890s+)
(also breakdance or boogie)To do a kind of dancing that evolved in the inner-city ghettos and is characterized esp by intricate writhings and shows of balance and strength close to the floor • Break down was used by 1819 to describe very energetic black dancing: You can go running. You can swim. Or you can break (1980s+ Black teenagers)
(also service break) To win a game from an opponent who is serving (1950s+ Tennis)

Also, break new ground.
Begin digging into the earth for new construction of some kind. For example, When will they break ground for the town hall? This usage alludes to breaking up the land with a plow. [ Early 1700s ]
Take the first steps for a new venture; advance beyond previous achievements. For example, Jeff is breaking new ground in intellectual property law. [ Early 1700s ]

break a leg
break away
break bread
break camp
break cover
break down
break even
break ground
break in
break into
break it up
break loose
break of day
break off
break one
break one’s ass
break one’s back
break one’s balls
break one’s fall
break one’s neck
break one’s word
break out
break out of
break ranks
break someone
break someone of something
break someone up
break someone’s heart
break someone’s serve
break the back of
break the bank
break the ice
break the news
break the record
break through
break up
break wind
break with


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  • Neck

    the part of the body of an animal or human being that connects the head and the trunk. the part of a garment encircling, partly covering, or closest to the neck; neckline. the length of the neck of a horse or other animal as a measure in racing. the slender part near the top of […]

  • Ice

    the solid form of water, produced by freezing; frozen water. the frozen surface of a body of water. any substance resembling frozen water: camphor ice. a frozen dessert made of sweetened water and fruit juice. British, ice cream. icing, as on a cake. reserve; formality: The ice of his manner betrayed his dislike of the […]

  • Break–in

    an illegal entry into a home, car, office, etc. break-in period. to smash, split, or divide into parts violently; reduce to pieces or fragments: He broke a vase. to infringe, ignore, or act contrary to (a law, rule, promise, etc.): She broke her promise. to dissolve or annul (often followed by off): to break off […]

  • Break-in-period

    a period during which certain restrictions or moderation in operating should be followed, as the avoidance of high speed, rapid acceleration, or severe braking for a new automobile.

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