Synonyms of break
1 shatterDictionary • He fell through the window, breaking the glass.
shatter • Safety glass won't shatter if it's broken.
separate • The nose section separates from the fuselage.
divide • the artificial line that divided the city
snap • The brake pedal had just snapped.
fragment • It's an exploded fracture – the bones have fragmented.
demolish • The building is being demolished to make way for a motorway.
sever • Oil was still gushing from the severed fuel line.
disintegrate • At 420 mph the windscreen disintegrated.
splinter • The ruler cracked and splintered into pieces.
smash to smithereens
2 fractureDictionary • She broke her leg in a skiing accident.
fracture • You've fractured a rib.
crack • A gas main had cracked under my neighbour's garage.
smash • The bottle smashed against a wall.
3 burstDictionary • The bandage must be put on when the blister breaks.
burst • The driver lost control when a tyre burst.
tear • a country that has been torn by civil war
split • In a severe gale the ship split in two.
puncture • The bullet punctured his stomach.
perforate • The table was perforated by a series of small holes.
4 stop working • When the clutch broke, the car was locked into second gear.
break down • Their car broke down.
go wrong • If your video recorder goes wrong, you can have it repaired.
pack up (British, informal) • Our car packed up.
have had it
cease to function
conk out (informal)
die • The engine coughed, spluttered, and died.
go on the blink
5 disobeyDictionary • We didn't know we were breaking the law.
disobey • He was forever disobeying the rules.
breach • The film breached the criminal libel laws.
defy • This was the first time that I had dared to defy her.
violate • They violated the ceasefire agreement.
infringe • The film exploited his image and infringed his copyright.
contravene (formal) • He said the article did not contravene the industry's code of conduct.
transgress • He had transgressed the boundaries of good taste.
go counter to
, abide by
6 stopDictionary • He aims to break the vicious cycle.
stop • His heart stopped three times.
cut • They used pressure tactics such as cutting food and water supplies.
check • Sex education is expected to help check the spread of Aids.
7 disturbDictionary • The noise broke my concentration.
disturb • I didn't want to disturb you.
cut • a straight line that cuts the vertical axis
interrupt • `Sorry to interrupt, Colonel.'
8 endDictionary • They have yet to break the link with the trade unions.
end • Talks have resumed to try to end the fighting.
stop • The music stopped and the lights were turned up.
drop • He was told to drop the idea.
terminate • Her next remark abruptly terminated the conversation.
put an end to
discontinue • Do not discontinue the treatment without consulting your doctor.
bring to an end
pull the plug on
call a halt to
9 give upDictionary • If you continue to smoke, keep trying to break the habit.
stop • I've been told to lose weight and stop smoking.
kick (informal) • She's kicked her drug habit.
abandon • The authorities have abandoned any attempt to distribute food.
quit • I was trying to quit smoking at the time.
say goodbye to
10 weakenDictionary • He never let his jailers break him.
weaken • Her opponents believe that her authority has been fatally weakened.
undermine • This will undermine their chances of success.
cow • She was so cowed by her husband that she meekly obeyed him in everything.
tame • Two regiments were called out to tame the crowds.
subdue • They admit they have not been able to subdue the rebels.
demoralize • One of the objectives is to demoralize enemy troops.
11 ruinDictionary • The newspapers can make or break you.
ruin • Roads have been destroyed and crops ruined.
destroy • The building was completely destroyed.
crush • Their vehicle was crushed by an army tank.
humiliate • His teacher continually humiliates him in maths lessons.
bankrupt • The move to the market nearly bankrupted the firm and its director.
impoverish • a society impoverished by wartime inflation
bring to ruin
12 pauseDictionary • They broke for lunch.
pause • He paused briefly before answering.
stop • She doesn't stop to think about what she's saying.
rest • They rested only once that morning.
cease • A small number of firms have ceased trading.
take a break
have a breather (informal)
13 interruptDictionary • We broke our journey at a small country hotel.
interrupt • He has interrupted his holiday to return to London.
stop • I think she really would have liked to stop everything right there.
suspend • The union suspended strike action this week.
14 cushionDictionary • She was saved by bushes which broke her fall.
reduce • Consumption is being reduced by 25 per cent.
ease • The heavy snow had eased a little.
moderate • They are hoping that he will be persuaded to moderate his views.
diminish • Federalism is intended to diminish the power of the central state.
temper • He had to learn to temper his enthusiasm.
soften • He could not think how to soften the blow of what he had to tell her.
lessen • Keep immunisations up to date to lessen the risk of serious illness.
alleviate • A great deal can be done to alleviate back pain.
lighten • He felt the need to lighten the atmosphere.
15 be revealed • He resigned his post as Bishop when the scandal broke.
come out • The truth is beginning to come out now.
be made public
be let out
come out in the wash
16 revealDictionary • I worried for ages and decided I had better break the news.
reveal • She has refused to reveal her daughter's whereabouts.
tell • The facts tell a very different story.
announce • She was planning to announce her engagement to Peter.
declare • Anyone carrying money into or out of the country must declare it.
disclose • Neither side would disclose details of the transaction.
proclaim • He continues to proclaim his innocence.
divulge • He was charged with divulging state secrets.
17 beatDictionary • The film has broken all box office records.
beat • He was as eager as his captain to beat the record.
top • How are you ever going to top that?
better • He bettered the old record of 4 minutes 24.
exceed • His performance exceeded all expectations.
excel • Few dancers have excelled her in virtuosity.
surpass • He was determined to surpass the achievements of his older brothers.
outstrip • In 1989 and 1990 demand outstripped supply.
outdo • Both sides have tried to outdo each other.
cap (informal) • He always has to cap everyone else's achievements.
18 happenDictionary • They continued their search as dawn broke. (of dawn)
happen • We cannot say for sure what will happen.
appear • A woman appeared at the far end of the street.
emerge • He was waiting outside as she emerged from the building.
occur • The deaths occurred when troops tried to disperse the demonstrators.
erupt • Lava erupted from the volcano and flowed over the ridge.
burst out • Then war burst out.
come into being
come forth suddenly
19 poundDictionary • He listened to the waves breaking against the shore.
pound • He pounded the table with his fist.
crash • Her glass fell on the floor and crashed into a thousand pieces
batter • He battered her around the head.
lash • The rain was absolutely lashing down.
20 decodeDictionary • It was feared they could break the allies' code.
decode • The secret documents were intercepted and decoded.
crack • He has finally cracked the code after years of painstaking research.
solve • Their domestic reforms did nothing to solve unemployment.
interpret • The pictures are often difficult to interpret.
decipher • I'm still no closer to deciphering the code.
21 hesitateDictionary • Godfrey's voice broke, and halted.
shake • I stood there, crying and shaking with fear.
tremble • He began to tremble all over.
falter • Her voice faltered and she had to stop a moment to control it.
waver • Some military commanders wavered over whether to support the coup.
stammer • She stammered her way through an introduction.
stutter • I was trembling so hard, I thought I would stutter when I spoke.
1 fractureDictionary • a break in the earth's surface
fracture • large fractures in the crust creating the valleys
opening • He squeezed through an opening in the fence.
tear • I peered through a tear in the van's curtains.
hole • They got in through a hole in the wall.
split • The seat had a few small splits around the corners.
crack • The plate had a crack in it.
breach • A large battering ram hammered a breach in the wall.
rupture • ruptures in a 60-mile pipeline on the island
gash • a long gash just above his right eye
fissure • There was a great crack, and a fissure opened up.
2 let-up • Nothing has been discussed that might lead to a break in the deadlock.
let-up (informal) • There was no sign of any let-up in the battle on the money markets yesterday.
halt • Air traffic has been brought to a halt.
suspension • the suspension of flights between London and Manchester
lessening • a lessening of tension on the border
interruption • interruptions in the supply of food and fuel
respite • I rang home during a brief respite at work.
lull • a lull in the conversation
cessation • They would not agree to a cessation of hostilities.
remission • It had been raining hard all day, without remission.
breathing space • We hope that it will give us some breathing space.
hiatus • Efforts to reach a settlement resume today after a two-week hiatus.
3 gapDictionary • a sudden break in the clouds
gap • the wind tearing through gaps in the window frames
space • The space underneath could be used as a storage area.
divide • the great divide between generations
crack • She watched him though a crack in the curtains.
rift • In the open bog are many rifts and potholes.
cleft • a narrow cleft in the rocks too small for a human to squeeze through
chink • He peered through a chink in the curtains.
crevice • a huge boulder with rare ferns growing in every crevice
cranny • The lizards fled into crannies in the rocks.
4 intervalDictionary • They always play that music during the break.
interval • During the interval, wine was served.
pause • There was a brief pause in the conversation.
recess • Parliament returns to work today after its summer recess.
interlude • It was a happy interlude in her life.
intermission • Drinks were served during the intermission.
5 holidayDictionary • They are currently taking a short break in Spain.
holiday • I've just come back from a holiday in the United States.
leave • Why don't you take a few days' leave?
vacation • During his vacation he visited Russia.
accumulated day off or ADO (Australian)
6 stroke of luck (informal) • The rain was a lucky break for the American.
stroke of luck
chance • All eligible people will get a chance to vote.
opportunity • I was given an opportunity to bathe and shower.
fortune • Such good fortune must be shared with my friends.
opening • All she needed was an opening to show her capabilities.
7 breachDictionary • There is some threat of a break in relations between them.
breach • the breach between Tito and Stalin
split • a split in the party
separation • a permanent separation from his son
rift • They hope to heal the rift with their father.
rupture • a major rupture between the two countries
alienation • Her sense of alienation from the world disappeared.
disaffection • evidence of the people's disaffection with their leaders
schism • The church seems to be on the brink of schism.
estrangement • The quarrel marked the beginning of a 20-year estrangement.
division • the division between the prosperous west and the impoverished east
PHRASAL VERBS:▷ break away
IDIOM:▷ break free of something or someone
▷ break in
▷ break up
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abandonIf you abandon an activity or piece of work, you stop doing it before it is finished.
• The authorities have abandoned any attempt to distribute food.
pack in (British, informal),
pack in (British, informal),
alienationTo alienate a person from someone or something that they are normally linked with means to cause them to be emotionally or intellectually separated from them. (noun)
• Her sense of alienation from the world disappeared.
alleviateIf you alleviate pain, suffering, or an unpleasant condition, you make it less intense or severe.
• A great deal can be done to alleviate back pain.
Thesaurus for break from the Collins English Thesaurus
to separate or become separated into two or more pieces