English dictionary

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English noun: break

1. break (event) some abrupt occurrence that interrupts an ongoing activity

SamplesThe telephone is an annoying interruption.
There was a break in the action when a player was hurt.


Broader (hypernym)happening, natural event, occurrence, occurrent

Narrower (hyponym)abatement, dislocation, disruption, eclipse, hiatus, occultation, punctuation, reprieve, respite, suspension

2. break (event) an unexpected piece of good luck

SamplesHe finally got his big break.

Synonymsgood luck, happy chance

Broader (hypernym)accident, chance event, fortuity, stroke

3. break (object) (geology) a crack in the earth's crust resulting from the displacement of one side with respect to the other

SamplesThey built it right over a geological fault.
He studied the faulting of the earth's crust.

Synonymsfault, faulting, fracture, geological fault, shift

Broader (hypernym)cleft, crack, crevice, fissure, scissure

Narrower (hyponym)inclined fault, strike-slip fault

Instance hyponymDenali Fault, San Andreas Fault

Part holonymfault line

Domain categorygeology

4. break (event) a personal or social separation (as between opposing factions)

SamplesThey hoped to avoid a break in relations.

Synonymsbreach, falling out, rift, rupture, severance

Broader (hypernym)breakup, detachment, separation

Narrower (hyponym)schism

5. break (act) a pause from doing something (as work)

SamplesWe took a 10-minute break.
He took time out to recuperate.

Synonymsrecess, respite, time out

Broader (hypernym)pause

Narrower (hyponym)spring break

6. break (act) the act of breaking something

SamplesThe breakage was unavoidable.

Synonymsbreakage, breaking

Broader (hypernym)change of integrity

Narrower (hyponym)chip, chipping, crack, cracking, fracture, rupture, shattering, smashing, splintering

7. break (time) a time interval during which there is a temporary cessation of something

Synonymsintermission, interruption, pause, suspension

Broader (hypernym)interval, time interval

Narrower (hyponym)blackout, caesura, dead air, delay, halftime, hold, lapse, letup, lull, postponement, relief, respite, rest, rest period, time lag, time-out, wait

8. break (state) breaking of hard tissue such as bone

SamplesIt was a nasty fracture.
The break seems to have been caused by a fall.


Broader (hypernym)harm, hurt, injury, trauma

Narrower (hyponym)capillary fracture, closed fracture, comminuted fracture, complete fracture, compound fracture, compression fracture, depressed fracture, displaced fracture, fatigue fracture, hairline fracture, impacted fracture, incomplete fracture, open fracture, simple fracture, stress fracture

9. break (event) the occurrence of breaking

SamplesThe break in the dam threatened the valley.

Broader (hypernym)breakup, detachment, separation

Narrower (hyponym)snap

10. break (event) an abrupt change in the tone or register of the voice (as at puberty or due to emotion)

SamplesThen there was a break in her voice.

Broader (hypernym)alteration, change, modification

11. break (act) the opening shot that scatters the balls in billiards or pool

Broader (hypernym)shot, stroke

Part meronymbilliards, pocket billiards, pool

12. break (act) (tennis) a score consisting of winning a game when your opponent was serving

SamplesHe was up two breaks in the second set.

Synonymsbreak of serve

Broader (hypernym)score

Domain categorylawn tennis, tennis

13. break (act) an act of delaying or interrupting the continuity

SamplesIt was presented without commercial breaks.
There was a gap in his account.

Synonymsdisruption, gap, interruption

Broader (hypernym)delay, holdup

Narrower (hyponym)abruption, barracking, breaking off, cut-in, cut-in, heckling, insert, insert, interjection, interpellation, interpolation, interposition

14. break (act) a sudden dash

SamplesHe made a break for the open door.

Broader (hypernym)dash, sprint

Narrower (hyponym)fast break

15. break (act) any frame in which a bowler fails to make a strike or spare

SamplesThe break in the eighth frame cost him the match.

Synonymsopen frame

Broader (hypernym)score

16. break (act) an escape from jail

SamplesThe breakout was carefully planned.

Synonymsbreakout, gaolbreak, jailbreak, prison-breaking, prisonbreak

Broader (hypernym)escape, flight

English verb: break

1. break (change) terminate

SamplesShe interrupted her pregnancy.
Break a lucky streak.
Break the cycle of poverty.


Pattern of useSomebody ----s something.
Something ----s something

Broader (hypernym)end, terminate

Narrower (hyponym)break off, break short, cut short, freeze, hold on, stop, suspend

2. break (change) become separated into pieces or fragments

SamplesThe figurine broke.
The freshly baked loaf fell apart.

ExamplesThe wooden sticks break , These glasses break easily

Synonymscome apart, fall apart, separate, split up

Pattern of useSomething ----s

Broader (hypernym)change integrity

Narrower (hyponym)break open, break up, burst, burst, bust, crack, crush, fragment, fragmentise, fragmentize, ladder, puncture, run, smash, snap, split

Verb groupbreak

3. break (change) render inoperable or ineffective

SamplesYou broke the alarm clock when you took it apart!.

Pattern of useSomebody ----s something.
Something ----s something

Broader (hypernym)damage

Verb groupbreak, break down, conk out, die, fail, give out, give way, go, go bad

4. break (contact) ruin completely

SamplesHe busted my radio!.


Pattern of useSomebody ----s something.
Something ----s something

Broader (hypernym)destroy, ruin

Narrower (hyponym)break down

Causebreak, bust, fall apart, wear, wear out

Verb groupbreak, bust, fall apart, wear, wear out

Antonymsbushel, fix, furbish up, mend, repair, doctor, touch on, restore

5. break (change) destroy the integrity of; usually by force; cause to separate into pieces or fragments

SamplesHe broke the glass plate.
She broke the match.

ExamplesThe girls break the wooden sticks

Pattern of useSomebody ----s something.
Something ----s something

Broader (hypernym)divide, separate

Narrower (hyponym)break in, dash, fracture, shatter, smash

Verb groupbreak, come apart, fall apart, separate, split up

6. break (social) act in disregard of laws, rules, contracts, or promises

SamplesOffend all laws of humanity.
Violate the basic laws or human civilization.
Break a law.
Break a promise.

Synonymsbreach, go against, infract, offend, transgress, violate

Pattern of useSomebody ----s something

Broader (hypernym)disrespect

Narrower (hyponym)blunder, boob, conflict, contravene, drop the ball, goof, infringe, intrude, run afoul, sin, sin, transgress, trespass, trespass, trespass

Antonymskeep, observe

7. break (motion) move away or escape suddenly

SamplesThe horses broke from the stable.
Three inmates broke jail.
Nobody can break out--this prison is high security.

Synonymsbreak away, break out

Pattern of useSomebody ----s.
Something is ----ing PP.
Somebody ----s something.
Somebody ----s PP

Broader (hypernym)break loose, escape, get away

Verb groupbreak

8. break (motion) scatter or part

SamplesThe clouds broke after the heavy downpour.

Pattern of useSomething ----s

Broader (hypernym)disperse, dissipate, scatter, spread out

9. break (emotion) force out or release suddenly and often violently something pent up

SamplesBreak into tears.
Erupt in anger.

Synonymsburst, erupt

Pattern of useSomebody ----s PP

Broader (hypernym)express emotion, express feelings

10. break (change) prevent completion

SamplesStop the project.
Break off the negotiations.

Synonymsbreak off, discontinue, stop

Pattern of useSomebody ----s something.
Something ----s something

Broader (hypernym)end, terminate

Narrower (hyponym)bog, bog down, break up, cut off, disrupt, fracture, interrupt

11. break (social) enter someone's (virtual or real) property in an unauthorized manner, usually with the intent to steal or commit a violent act

SamplesSomeone broke in while I was on vacation.
They broke into my car and stole my radio!.
Who broke into my account last night?.

Synonymsbreak in

Pattern of useSomebody ----s something.
Somebody ----s PP

Broader (hypernym)intrude, trespass

Narrower (hyponym)crack

12. break (change) make submissive, obedient, or useful

SamplesThe horse was tough to break.
I broke in the new intern.

Synonymsbreak in

Pattern of useSomebody ----s something.
Somebody ----s somebody

Broader (hypernym)domesticate, domesticise, domesticize, reclaim, tame


Verb groupbreak

13. break (stative) fail to agree with; be in violation of; as of rules or patterns

SamplesThis sentence violates the rules of syntax.

Synonymsgo against, violate

Pattern of useSomebody ----s something.
Something ----s something

Narrower (hyponym)fly in the face of, fly in the teeth of

Antonymsconform to

14. break (competition) surpass in excellence

SamplesShe bettered her own record.
Break a record.


Pattern of useSomebody ----s something

Broader (hypernym)exceed, outdo, outgo, outmatch, outperform, outstrip, surmount, surpass

15. break (communication) make known to the public information that was previously known only to a few people or that was meant to be kept a secret

SamplesThe auction house would not disclose the price at which the van Gogh had sold.
The actress won't reveal how old she is.
Bring out the truth.
He broke the news to her.
Unwrap the evidence in the murder case.

Synonymsbring out, disclose, discover, divulge, expose, give away, let on, let out, reveal, unwrap

Pattern of useSomebody ----s something.
Something ----s something.
Somebody ----s something to somebody.
Somebody ----s that CLAUSE

Broader (hypernym)tell

Narrower (hyponym)babble, babble out, betray, bewray, blab, blab out, blackwash, blow, come out, come out of the closet, confide, leak, let the cat out of the bag, muckrake, out, out, peach, reveal, sing, spill the beans, spring, talk, tattle

Causebreak, get around, get out

Verb groupbreak, get around, get out

16. break (change) come into being

SamplesLight broke over the horizon.
Voices broke in the air.

Pattern of useSomething ----s

Broader (hypernym)become, get, go

17. break (change) stop operating or functioning

SamplesThe engine finally went.
The car died on the road.
The bus we travelled in broke down on the way to town.
The coffee maker broke.
The engine failed on the way to town.
Her eyesight went after the accident.

ExamplesThese cars won't break

Synonymsbreak down, conk out, die, fail, give out, give way, go, go bad

Pattern of useSomething ----s

Broader (hypernym)change

Narrower (hyponym)blow, blow out, burn out, crash, go down, malfunction, misfire, misfunction

Verb groupbreak, buy the farm, cash in one's chips, choke, conk, croak, decease, die, drop dead, exit, expire, give-up the ghost, go, kick the bucket, pass, pass away, perish, pop off, snuff it

18. break (social) interrupt a continued activity

SamplesShe had broken with the traditional patterns.

Synonymsbreak away

Pattern of useSomething is ----ing PP.
Somebody ----s PP

Broader (hypernym)break, break up, part, separate, split, split up

19. break (motion) make a rupture in the ranks of the enemy or one's own by quitting or fleeing

SamplesThe ranks broke.

Pattern of useSomething ----s.
Somebody ----s

Broader (hypernym)flee, fly, take flight

Verb groupbreak, break away, break out

Domain categoryarmed forces, armed services, military, military machine, war machine

20. break (motion) curl over and fall apart in surf or foam, of waves

SamplesThe surf broke.

Pattern of useSomething ----s

Broader (hypernym)break, cave in, collapse, fall in, founder, give, give way

21. break (change) lessen in force or effect

SamplesSoften a shock.
Break a fall.

Synonymsdamp, dampen, soften, weaken

Pattern of useSomething ----s.
Somebody ----s something.
Something ----s something

Broader (hypernym)blunt, deaden

Narrower (hyponym)damp, dampen, deaden, deafen

22. break (change) be broken in

SamplesIf the new teacher won't break, we'll add some stress.

Pattern of useSomebody ----s

Broader (hypernym)change

Verb groupbreak, break in

23. break (stative) come to an end

SamplesThe heat wave finally broke yesterday.

Pattern of useSomething ----s

Broader (hypernym)cease, end, finish, stop, terminate

24. break (stative) vary or interrupt a uniformity or continuity

SamplesThe flat plain was broken by tall mesas.

Pattern of useSomething ----s something

Broader (hypernym)alter, change, vary

25. break (stative) cause to give up a habit

SamplesShe finally broke herself of smoking cigarettes.

Pattern of useSomebody ----s somebody


Verb groupbreak

26. break (stative) give up

SamplesBreak cigarette smoking.

Pattern of useSomebody ----s something

Broader (hypernym)cease, discontinue, give up, lay off, quit, stop

Verb groupbreak

27. break (stative) come forth or begin from a state of latency

SamplesThe first winter storm broke over New York.

Pattern of useSomething is ----ing PP

Broader (hypernym)come forth, emerge

28. break (social) happen or take place

SamplesThings have been breaking pretty well for us in the past few months.

Pattern of useSomething ----s

Broader (hypernym)come about, fall out, go on, hap, happen, occur, pass, pass off, take place

Domain usagecolloquialism

29. break (social) cause the failure or ruin of

SamplesHis peccadilloes finally broke his marriage.
This play will either make or break the playwright.

Pattern of useSomebody ----s something.
Something ----s something

Broader (hypernym)ruin


30. break (social) invalidate by judicial action

SamplesThe will was broken.

Pattern of useSomebody ----s something

Broader (hypernym)annul, avoid, invalidate, nullify, quash, void

31. break (social) discontinue an association or relation; go different ways

SamplesThe business partners broke over a tax question.
The couple separated after 25 years of marriage.
My friend and I split up.

Synonymsbreak up, part, separate, split, split up

Pattern of useSomebody ----s

Narrower (hyponym)break, break apart, break away, break away, break with, disassociate, disjoint, dissociate, disunify, disunite, divorce, divorce, give the axe, give the bounce, give the gate, secede, splinter, split up

32. break (social) assign to a lower position; reduce in rank

SamplesShe was demoted because she always speaks up.
He was broken down to Sergeant.

Synonymsbump, demote, kick downstairs, relegate

Pattern of useSomebody ----s somebody.
Somebody ----s something PP

Broader (hypernym)assign, delegate, depute, designate

Narrower (hyponym)reduce, sideline

Antonymselevate, kick upstairs, promote, upgrade, advance, raise

33. break (possession) reduce to bankruptcy

SamplesMy daughter's fancy wedding is going to break me!.
The slump in the financial markets smashed him.

Synonymsbankrupt, ruin, smash

Pattern of useSomebody ----s somebody.
Something ----s somebody

Broader (hypernym)impoverish

34. break (motion) change directions suddenly

Pattern of useSomething ----s.
Somebody ----s

Broader (hypernym)change, shift, switch

35. break (motion) emerge from the surface of a body of water

SamplesThe whales broke.

Pattern of useSomething ----s

Broader (hypernym)appear

36. break (motion) break down, literally or metaphorically

SamplesThe wall collapsed.
The business collapsed.
The dam broke.
The roof collapsed.
The wall gave in.
The roof finally gave under the weight of the ice.

Synonymscave in, collapse, fall in, founder, give, give way

Pattern of useSomething ----s.
Somebody ----s

Broader (hypernym)change

Narrower (hyponym)break, buckle, crumple, flop, go off, implode, sink, slide down, slump

Verb groupabandon, burst, collapse, give up

37. break (motion) do a break dance

SamplesKids were break-dancing at the street corner.

ExamplesSam and Sue break

Synonymsbreak dance, break-dance

Pattern of useSomebody ----s

Broader (hypernym)dance, trip the light fantastic, trip the light fantastic toe

38. break (contact) exchange for smaller units of money

SamplesI had to break a $100 bill just to buy the candy.

Pattern of useSomebody ----s something

Broader (hypernym)change, commute, convert, exchange

Verb groupbreak, break up

39. break (contact) destroy the completeness of a set of related items

SamplesThe book dealer would not break the set.

Synonymsbreak up

Pattern of useSomebody ----s something

Broader (hypernym)alter, change, modify

Verb groupbreak

40. break (contact) make the opening shot that scatters the balls

Pattern of useSomebody ----s

Broader (hypernym)shoot

Domain categorybilliards

41. break (contact) separate from a clinch, in boxing

SamplesThe referee broke the boxers.

Pattern of useSomebody ----s somebody

Broader (hypernym)disunite, divide, part, separate

42. break (contact) go to pieces

SamplesThe lawn mower finally broke.
The gears wore out.
The old chair finally fell apart completely.

Synonymsbust, fall apart, wear, wear out

Pattern of useSomething ----s

Broader (hypernym)crumble, decay, dilapidate

Narrower (hyponym)fray, frazzle

Verb groupbreak, bust

43. break (contact) break a piece from a whole

SamplesBreak a branch from a tree.

Synonymsbreak off, snap off

Pattern of useSomebody ----s something

Broader (hypernym)detach

44. break (contact) become punctured or penetrated

SamplesThe skin broke.

Pattern of useSomething ----s

Verb groupbreak

45. break (contact) pierce or penetrate

SamplesThe blade broke her skin.

Pattern of useSomething ----s something

Broader (hypernym)penetrate, perforate

Verb groupbreak

46. break (communication) be released or become known; of news

SamplesNews of her death broke in the morning.

Synonymsget around, get out

Pattern of useSomething ----s

Narrower (hyponym)leak, leak out

Verb groupbreak, bring out, disclose, discover, divulge, expose, give away, let on, let out, reveal, unwrap

47. break (communication) cease an action temporarily

SamplesWe pause for station identification.
Let's break for lunch.

Synonymsintermit, pause

Pattern of useSomebody ----s

Broader (hypernym)break up, cut off, disrupt, interrupt

Narrower (hyponym)breathe, catch one's breath, rest, take a breather, take five, take ten

48. break (communication) interrupt the flow of current in

SamplesBreak a circuit.

Pattern of useSomebody ----s something.
Something ----s something

Broader (hypernym)break up, cut off, disrupt, interrupt

49. break (communication) undergo breaking

SamplesThe simple vowels broke in many Germanic languages.

Pattern of useSomething ----s

Broader (hypernym)diphthongise, diphthongize

50. break (cognition) find a flaw in

SamplesBreak an alibi.
Break down a proof.

Pattern of useSomebody ----s something.
Something ----s something

Broader (hypernym)destroy, ruin

Verb groupbreak

51. break (cognition) find the solution or key to

SamplesBreak the code.

Pattern of useSomebody ----s something

Broader (hypernym)figure out, lick, puzzle out, solve, work, work out

Verb groupbreak

52. break (change) change suddenly from one tone quality or register to another

SamplesHer voice broke to a whisper when she started to talk about her children.

Pattern of useSomething ----s

Broader (hypernym)change, shift, switch

53. break (change) happen

SamplesReport the news as it develops.
These political movements recrudesce from time to time.

Synonymsdevelop, recrudesce

Pattern of useSomething ----s

Broader (hypernym)come about, fall out, go on, hap, happen, occur, pass, pass off, take place

Verb groupdevelop

54. break (change) become fractured; break or crack on the surface only

SamplesThe glass cracked when it was heated.

Synonymscheck, crack

Pattern of useSomething ----s

Broader (hypernym)change

Narrower (hyponym)crack

Verb groupcheck, chink, crack

55. break (change) crack; of the male voice in puberty

SamplesHis voice is breaking--he should no longer sing in the choir.

Pattern of useSomething ----s

Broader (hypernym)change state, turn

56. break (change) fall sharply

SamplesStock prices broke.

ExamplesThe stock market is going to break

Pattern of useSomething ----s

Broader (hypernym)decrease, diminish, fall, lessen

57. break (body) fracture a bone of

SamplesI broke my foot while playing hockey.

ExamplesDid he break his foot?


Pattern of useSomebody ----s something

Broader (hypernym)injure, wound

Verb groupfracture

58. break (body) diminish or discontinue abruptly

SamplesThe patient's fever broke last night.

Pattern of useSomething ----s

Broader (hypernym)decrease, diminish, fall, lessen

59. break (body) weaken or destroy in spirit or body

SamplesHis resistance was broken.
A man broken by the terrible experience of near-death.

Pattern of useSomething ----s somebody

Broader (hypernym)weaken

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