Cause to discontinue a habit or practice, as in Mom tried for years to break Betty of biting her nails. The Oxford English Dictionary cites a quotation from W. Wotton’s History of Rome (1701): “He … broke them of their warm Baths,” which presumably refers to breaking Romans of their custom of bathing regularly. Today we are more apt to break someone of a bad habit. [ Early 1600s ]
see under break up , def. 5.
break someone’s balls To give someone a hard time, esp nagging or overwhelming them: She takes every opportunity to break his balls To overwork or be overworked: breaking my balls to finish this in seven weeks To verbally assault someone; harass: I love it here. I can work hung over and nobody busts my chops/ […]
break someone’s brains
break someone’s chops To verbally assault someone; harass: I love it here. I can work hung over and nobody busts my chops/ Well, she turned absolutely livid, and ever since she’s been busting my chops BUST one’s ASS (1970s+)