Definition of Break

Pronunciation: brāk
v. t.1.To strain apart; to sever by fracture; to divide with violence; as, to break a rope or chain; to break a seal; to break an axle; to break rocks or coal; to break a lock.
[imp. broke (brōk), (Obs. Brake); p. p. Broken (brō"k'n), (Obs. Broke); p. pr. & vb. n. Breaking.]
2.To lay open as by breaking; to divide; as, to break a package of goods.
3.To lay open, as a purpose; to disclose, divulge, or communicate.
Katharine, break thy mind to me.
- Shak.
4.To infringe or violate, as an obligation, law, or promise.
Out, out, hyena! these are thy wonted arts . . .
To break all faith, all vows, deceive, betray.
- Milton
5.To interrupt; to destroy the continuity of; to dissolve or terminate; as, to break silence; to break one's sleep; to break one's journey.
Go, release them, Ariel;
My charms I'll break, their senses I'll restore.
- Shak.
6.To destroy the completeness of; to remove a part from; as, to break a set.
7.To destroy the arrangement of; to throw into disorder; to pierce; as, the cavalry were not able to break the British squares.
8.To shatter to pieces; to reduce to fragments.
The victim broke in pieces the musical instruments with which he had solaced the hours of captivity.
- Prescott.
9.To exchange for other money or currency of smaller denomination; as, to break a five dollar bill.
10.To destroy the strength, firmness, or consistency of; as, to break flax.
11.To weaken or impair, as health, spirit, or mind.
An old man, broken with the storms of state.
- Shak.
12.To diminish the force of; to lessen the shock of, as a fall or blow.
I'll rather leap down first, and break your fall.
- Dryden.
13.To impart, as news or information; to broach; - with to, and often with a modified word implying some reserve; as, to break the news gently to the widow; to break a purpose cautiously to a friend.
14.To tame; to reduce to subjection; to make tractable; to discipline; as, to break a horse to the harness or saddle.
Why, then thou canst not break her to the lute?
- Shak.
15.To destroy the financial credit of; to make bankrupt; to ruin.
With arts like these rich Matho, when he speaks,
Attracts all fees, and little lawyers breaks.
- Dryden.
16.To destroy the official character and standing of; to cashier; to dismiss.
I see a great officer broken.
- Swift.
To break down
a - To crush; to overwhelm; as, to break down one's strength; to break down opposition.
b - To remove, or open a way through, by breaking; as, to break down a door or wall.
To break in
a - To force in; as, to break in a door.
b - To train; to discipline; as, a horse well broken in.
To break of
to rid of; to cause to abandon; as, to break one of a habit.
To break off
a - To separate by breaking; as, to break off a twig.
b - To stop suddenly; to abandon.
To break open
to open by breaking.
- Dan. iv. 27.
To break out
to take or force out by breaking; as, to break out a pane of glass.
- Shak.
To break out a cargo
to unstow a cargo, so as to unload it easily.
To break through
a - To make an opening through, as, as by violence or the force of gravity; to pass violently through; as, to break through the enemy's lines; to break through the ice.
b - To disregard; as, to break through the ceremony.
To break up
a - To separate into parts; to plow (new or fallow ground).
b - To dissolve; to put an end to.
- Shak.
To break
to unsettle or disconcert completely; to upset.
- Shak.
To break the back
a - To dislocate the backbone; hence, to disable totally.
b - To get through the worst part of; as, to break the back of a difficult undertaking.
To break bulk
to destroy the entirety of a load by removing a portion of it; to begin to unload; also, to transfer in detail, as from boats to cars.
To break a code
to discover a method to convert coded messages into the original understandable text.
To break cover
to burst forth from a protecting concealment, as game when hunted.
To break a deer
to cut it up and apportion the parts among those entitled to a share.
To break fast
to partake of food after abstinence. See Breakfast.
To break ground
a - To open the earth as for planting; to commence excavation, as for building, siege operations, and the like; as, to break ground for a foundation, a canal, or a railroad.
b - Fig.: To begin to execute any plan.
c - (Naut.) To release the anchor from the bottom.
To break the heart
to crush or overwhelm (one) with grief.
To break a house
(Law) to remove or set aside with violence and a felonious intent any part of a house or of the fastenings provided to secure it.
To break the ice
to get through first difficulties; to overcome obstacles and make a beginning; to introduce a subject.
To break jail
to escape from confinement in jail, usually by forcible means.
To break a jest
to utter a jest.
To break joints
to lay or arrange bricks, shingles, etc., so that the joints in one course shall not coincide with those in the preceding course.
- Shak.
To break a lance
to engage in a tilt or contest.
To break the neck
to dislocate the joints of the neck.
To break no squares
to create no trouble.
To break a path
to open a way through obstacles by force or labor.
To break upon a wheel
to execute or torture, as a criminal by stretching him upon a wheel, and breaking his limbs with an iron bar; - a mode of punishment formerly employed in some countries.
To break wind
to give vent to wind from the anus.
v. i.1.To come apart or divide into two or more pieces, usually with suddenness and violence; to part; to burst asunder.
2.To open spontaneously, or by pressure from within, as a bubble, a tumor, a seed vessel, a bag.
Else the bottle break, and the wine runneth out.
- Math. ix. 17.
3.To burst forth; to make its way; to come to view; to appear; to dawn.
The day begins to break, and night is fled.
- Shak.
And from the turf a fountain broke,
and gurgled at our feet.
- Wordsworth.
4.To burst forth violently, as a storm.
The clouds are still above; and, while I speak,
A second deluge o'er our head may break.
- Dryden.
5.To open up; to be scattered; to be dissipated; as, the clouds are breaking.
At length the darkness begins to break.
- Macaulay.
6.To become weakened in constitution or faculties; to lose health or strength.
See how the dean begins to break;
Poor gentleman! he droops apace.
- Swift.
7.To be crushed, or overwhelmed with sorrow or grief; as, my heart is breaking.
8.To fall in business; to become bankrupt.
He that puts all upon adventures doth oftentimes break, and come to poverty.
- Bacn.
9.To make an abrupt or sudden change; to change the gait; as, to break into a run or gallop.
10.To fail in musical quality; as, a singer's voice breaks when it is strained beyond its compass and a tone or note is not completed, but degenerates into an unmusical sound instead. Also, to change in tone, as a boy's voice at puberty.
11.To fall out; to terminate friendship.
To break upon the score of danger or expense is to be mean and narrow-spirited.
- Collier.
To break away
to disengage one's self abruptly; to come or go away against resistance.
Fear me not, man; I will not break away.
- Shak.
To break down
a - To come down by breaking; as, the coach broke down.
b - To fail in any undertaking; to halt before successful completion; as, the negotiations broke down due to irreconcilable demands.
c - To cease functioning or to malfunction; as, the car broke down in the middle of the highway.
He had broken down almost at the outset.
- Thackeray.
This radiant from the circling crowd he broke.
- Dryden.
n.1.An opening made by fracture or disruption.
2.(Arch.) An interruption of continuity; change of direction; as, a break in a wall; a break in the deck of a ship.
3.An interruption; a pause; as, a break in friendship; a break in the conversation.
4.An interruption in continuity in writing or printing, as where there is an omission, an unfilled line, etc.
All modern trash is
Set forth with numerous breaks and dashes.
- Swift.
5.The first appearing, as of light in the morning; the dawn; as, the break of day; the break of dawn.
6.A large four-wheeled carriage, having a straight body and calash top, with the driver's seat in front and the footman's behind.
7.A device for checking motion, or for measuring friction. See Brake, n. 9 & 10.
8.(Teleg.) See Commutator.

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