Word forms: breaks
1. ergative verb & verb When an object breaks or when you break it, it suddenly separates into two or more pieces, often because it has been hit or dropped. [V n] ⇒ He fell through the window, breaking the glass. [V] ⇒ The plate broke. [V n + into] ⇒ Break the cauliflower into florets. [V + into] ⇒ The plane broke into three pieces. [V-ed] ⇒ ...bombed-out buildings, surrounded by broken glass and rubble. [V-ing] ⇒ The only sound was the crackle of breaking ice. 2. ergative verb & verb If you break a part of your body such as your leg, your arm, or your nose, or if a bone breaks, you are injured because a bone cracks or splits. [V n] ⇒ She broke a leg in a skiing accident. [V] ⇒ Old bones break easily. [V-ed] ⇒ Several people were treated for broken bones.
Break is also a noun. ⇒ It has caused a bad break to Gabriella's leg.
3. ergative verb & verb If a surface, cover, or seal breaks or if something breaks it, a hole or tear is made in it, so that a substance can pass through. [V n] ⇒ Once you've broken the seal of a bottle there's no way you can put it back together again. [V] ⇒ The bandage must be put on when the blister breaks. [V-ed] ⇒ Do not use the cream on broken skin. 4. ergative verb & verb When a tool or piece of machinery breaks or when you break it, it is damaged and no longer works. [V] ⇒ When the clutch broke, the car was locked into second gear. [V-ed] ⇒ Tenants do not have to worry about leaking roofs and broken washing machines. [V n] ⇒ The lead biker broke his bike chain. [Also V-ed] 5. verb
If you break a rule, promise, or agreement, you do something that you should not do according to that rule, promise, or agreement. [V n] ⇒ We didn't know we were breaking the law. [V n] ⇒ The company has consistently denied it had knowingly broken arms embargoes. [V-ed] ⇒ ...broken promises.
6. verb If you break free or loose, you free yourself from something or escape from it. [V adj] ⇒ She broke free by thrusting her elbow into his chest. [V adj] ⇒ ...his inability to break free of his marriage. 7. verb If someone breaks something, especially a difficult or unpleasant situation that has existed for some time, they end it or change it. [V n] ⇒ The Home Secretary aims to break the vicious circle between disadvantage and crime. [V n] ⇒ New proposals have been put forward to break the deadlock among rival factions. [V n] ⇒ The country is heading towards elections which may break the party's long hold on power.
Break is also a noun. ⇒ Nothing that might lead to a break in the deadlock has been discussed yet.
8. verb If someone or something breaks a silence, they say something or make a noise after a long period of silence. [V n] ⇒ Hugh broke the silence. 'Is she always late?' he asked. [V n] ⇒ The unearthly silence was broken by a shrill screaming. 9. countable noun If there is a break in the cloud or weather, it changes and there is a short period of sunshine or fine weather. [+ in] ⇒ A sudden break in the cloud allowed rescuers to spot Michael Benson. 10. verb If you break with a group of people or a traditional way of doing things, or you break your connection with them, you stop being involved with that group or stop doing things in that way. [V + with] ⇒ In 1959, Akihito broke with imperial tradition by marrying a commoner. [V + from] ⇒ They were determined to break from precedent. [V n + with] ⇒ They have yet to break the link with the trade unions. [Also V n]
Break is also a noun. ⇒ Making a completely clean break with the past, the couple got rid of all their old furniture.
If you break a habit or if someone breaks you of it, you no longer have that habit. [V n] ⇒ If you continue to smoke, keep trying to break the habit. [V n + of] ⇒ The professor hoped to break the students of the habit of looking for easy answers.
12. verb To break someone means to destroy their determination and courage, their success, or their career. [V n] ⇒ He never let his jailers break him. [V n] ⇒ The newspapers and television can make or break you. [V-ed] ⇒ Ken's wife, Vicki, said: 'He's a broken man.' 13. verb
If someone breaks for a short period of time, they rest or change from what they are doing for a short period. [V] ⇒ They broke for lunch.
14. countable noun A break is a short period of time when you have a rest or a change from what you are doing, especially if you are working or if you are in a boring or unpleasant situation. ⇒ They may be able to help with childcare so that you can have a break. [+ from] ⇒ I thought a 15 min break from his work would do him good. ⇒ She rang Moira during a coffee break. 16. countable noun A break is a short holiday. [+ in] ⇒ They are currently taking a short break in Spain. 17. verb If you break your journey somewhere, you stop there for a short time so that you can have a rest. [V n] ⇒ Because of the heat we broke our journey at a small country hotel. 18. verb
To break the force of something such as a blow or fall means to weaken its effect, for example by getting in the way of it. [V n] ⇒ He sustained serious neck injuries after he broke someone's fall.
19. verb When a piece of news breaks, people hear about it from the newspapers, television, or radio. [V] ⇒ The news broke that the Prime Minister had resigned. [V] ⇒ He resigned from his post as Bishop when the scandal broke. 20. verb When you break a piece of bad news to someone, you tell it to them, usually in a kind way. [V n] ⇒ Then Louise broke the news that she was leaving me. [V n + to] ⇒ I worried for ages and decided that I had better break it to her. 21. countable noun A break is a lucky opportunity that someone gets to achieve something. [informal] ⇒ He went into TV and got his first break playing opposite Sid James in the series 'Citizen James'. 22. verb If you break a record, you beat the previous record for a particular achievement. [V n] ⇒ Carl Lewis has broken the world record in the 100 metres. [V n] ⇒ Jurassic Park had broken all box office records. 24. verb When day or dawn breaks, it starts to grow light after the night has ended. [V] ⇒ They continued the search as dawn broke. 26. verb When a wave breaks, it passes its highest point and turns downwards, for example when it reaches the shore. [V] ⇒ Danny listened to the waves breaking against the shore. 27. verb If you break a secret code, you work out how to understand it. [V n] ⇒ It was feared they could break the Allies' codes. 28. verb If someone's voice breaks when they are speaking, it changes its sound, for example because they are sad or afraid. [V] ⇒ Godfrey's voice broke, and halted. 29. verb
When a boy's voice breaks, it becomes deeper and sounds more like a man's voice. [V] ⇒ He sings with the strained discomfort of someone whose voice hasn't quite broken.
30. verb If the weather breaks or a storm breaks, it suddenly becomes rainy or stormy after a period of sunshine. [V] ⇒ I've been waiting for the weather to break. [V] ⇒ She hoped she'd be able to reach the hotel before the storm broke. 31. verb In tennis, if you break your opponent's serve, you win a game in which your opponent is serving. [V n] ⇒ He broke McEnroe's serve.
Break is also a noun. ⇒ A single break of serve settled the first two sets.
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