To break something is to change it, usually in a way that is undesireable or destructive.
In some cases, it’s necessary to break something or change it so that it is more useful:
- When using a large bill such as a 100-dollar bill, some stores might not have enough money on hand to break it. (break = provide smaller denominations of money)
- At the beginning of a game of pool or billiards, a player breaks by hitting a racked set of balls with a cue ball.
If someone enters your house illegally, he or she breaks in.
- After he was arrested, tried, convicted, and given a ten year-sentence, he broke out of prison.
In these sentences, "break" is an adjective.
- In breaking news, a cease-fire was announced by both sides.
- Leonard is broke. (broke = no money)
- Break dancing is a form of dance that originated in urban areas in the United States.
- Cynthia has a broken arm. (The bone in her arm broke.)
- Employees of the company can but food in the break room. (break room = a place for taking a break)
As a noun, the word "break" has many different meanings:
- I need to take a break. (I need to rest.)
- Our class took a ten-minute break.
- Many college students spend their spring break in Florida. (spring break = a one-week break from college, particularly popular among wealthy kids who have money to travel)
- Bill is finally going to get his big break as an actor. (break = opportunity)
- There’s going to be a break in the weather next week. (break – a change)
- A sudden break out of measles forced the cancellation of classes. (break out = the appearance of disease)
- During the prison break, three inmates escaped.
There are many idioms and expressions that use the word "break."
- I’m sorry, I have to break some bad news to you. (break bad news = tell bad news)
- This discovery breaks new ground in the area of cancer research. (break ground = discover something new)
- Your cell phone is breaking up. (The wireless connection is bad.)
- Okay, break it up! (Stop fighting.)
- The sun is just starting to break through the clouds. (break through = show through)
- The police had to break up a fight.
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February 2, 2015