General English

  • verb to make something divide into pieces accidentally or deliberately
  • verb to fail to obey a rule or law

General Science

  • noun the action of pressing a key to stop a program execution
  • verb to decipher a difficult code


  • noun a pause between periods of work
  • noun a sharp fall in share prices


  • verb to train a horse to wear a saddle
  • verb to mill flour, by passing it through break rolls


  • noun a lucky deal or good opportunity

Cars & Driving

  • verb to separate into several parts


  • noun an action performed, or a key pressed, to stop the execution of a program


  • noun spin imparted to the ball by the bowler, or the resulting deviation of the ball after pitching (
    See spin
    Citation ‘He [W. G. Grace] would give, apparently, the most tremendous twist to his fingers, making a grunt as though the act of putting on so much break were hurting him’ (Cardus 1978)
  • noun the direction taken by a ball that turns after pitching
    Citation ‘He will hit against the break so hard and so often that the poor bowlers wish he would go back to hitting with it’ (James 1963)
  • noun a leg-break or off-break; a spinner
    Citation ‘Just when it appeared that the gritty Javed and the doughty Sohail were settling down to a big partnership, Sachin came along with his gentle breaks which resulted in Sohail being caught low at mid-wicket.’ (Purandare 2005, p136)
  • verb (of the ball) to deviate from the original line of flight after pitching, as a result of spin imparted by the bowler
    Citation ‘Bob, letting alone a ball wide of the off-stump under the impression that it was going to break away, was disagreeably surprised to find it break in instead, and hit the wicket’ (P.G.Wodehouse, Mike 1909)
    Citation ‘Immediately after lunch, however, he [Bosanquet] clean-bowled him with a ball which the Warwickshire wicket-keeper thought was breaking from the off and which broke from leg!’ (Warner 1934)
  • verb (of the bowler) to cause the ball to break in this way
    Citation ‘I could bowl fast-medium with a high action, swing the ball late from leg and break it with shoulder-and-finger action from the off’ (James 1963)
    See also leg-break, off-break, action-break


  • An opening, pause, or interruption in continuity.
  • In a circuit-opening device, such as a switch, the minimum distance between the contacts when in the open position.
  • An interruption in processing, execution, transmission, communication, or the like. Also, a command which creates such a break. Also called pause (3).
  • A key on a computer keyboard which creates a break (4). Also called pause (4).
  • A signal sent by a receiver indicating the desire to transmit.


  • (written as Break)
    A term used to describe Forex prices that move through a resistance or support level. Often the move is a result of important new information that has been released. A break typically indicates a trend in the same direction.

Media Studies

  • noun the point at which a word is hyphenated at the end of a line of text


  • noun the point at which a bone has broken


  • noun a place where something is broken
  • verb to cause damage to something
  • verb to stop being in a close group
  • verb to stop an activity (usually for a short period)


  • noun a point at which something or somebody stops working


  • verb to leave, depart. A synonym for boot, jam, jet, bail, heard since 2000. It may be influenced by the phrase ‘make a break for it’ or possibly ‘break for the border’.


  • verb to damage a hard body part such as a bone, or sustain such a break
  • verb to win a game in which the other player is serving
  • verb to separate after being in a boxing or wrestling clinch
  • verb to increase speed suddenly in a race


  • verb to fail to carry out the terms of a contract or a rule
  • verb to stop doing something for a time

Origin & History of “break”

Break comes via prehistoric Germanic *brekan from the Indo-European base *bhreg-, which also produced Latin frangere ‘break’ (source of English fraction and fracture). Possibly related words include brake, bark ‘sound made by a dog’, and brigade, while the Germanic derived noun *brecho passed into English via Old French as breach (14th c.) (Old English had the parallel form bryce, which died out). The application of broke (originally a variant of the past participle broken) to ‘insolvency’ dates from the 18th century.