1. Bot. A fern of the genus Pteris, esp. the Pteris aquilina, common in almost all countries. It has solitary stems dividing into three principal branches. Less properly: Any fern.
2. A thicket; a place overgrown with shrubs and brambles, with undergrowth and ferns, or with canes.
Rounds rising hillocks, brakes obscure and rough,
To shelter thee from tempest and from rain. --Shak.
He stayed not for brake, and he stopped not for stone. --Sir W. Scott.
Cane brake, a thicket of canes. See Canebrake.
Brake imp. of Break. [Arhaic]
1. An instrument or machine to break or bruise the woody part of flax or hemp so that it may be separated from the fiber.
2. An extended handle by means of which a number of men can unite in working a pump, as in a fire engine.
3. A baker's kneading though.
4. A sharp bit or snaffle.
Pampered jades . . . which need nor break nor bit. --Gascoigne.
5. A frame for confining a refractory horse while the smith is shoeing him; also, an inclosure to restrain cattle, horses, etc.
A horse . . . which Philip had bought . . . and because of his fierceness kept him within a brake of iron bars. --J. Brende.
6. That part of a carriage, as of a movable battery, or engine, which enables it to turn.
7. Mil. An ancient engine of war analogous to the crossbow and ballista.
8. Agric. A large, heavy harrow for breaking clods after plowing; a drag.
9. A piece of mechanism for retarding or stopping motion by friction, as of a carriage or railway car, by the pressure of rubbers against the wheels, or of clogs or ratchets against the track or roadway, or of a pivoted lever against a wheel or drum in a machine.
10. Engin. An apparatus for testing the power of a steam engine, or other motor, by weighing the amount of friction that the motor will overcome; a friction brake.
11. A cart or carriage without a body, used in breaking in horses.
12. An ancient instrument of torture.
Air brake. See Air brake, in the Vocabulary.
Brake beam or Brake bar, the beam that connects the brake blocks of opposite wheels.
Brake block. (a) The part of a brake holding the brake shoe. (b) A brake shoe.
Brake shoe or Brake rubber, the part of a brake against which the wheel rubs.
Brake wheel, a wheel on the platform or top of a car by which brakes are operated.
Continuous brake . See under Continuous.
Break v. t. [imp. broke (Obs. Brake); p. p. Broken (Obs. Broke); p. pr. & vb. n. Breaking.]
1. To strain apart; to sever by fracture; to divide with violence; as, to break a rope or chain; to break a seal; to break an axle; to break rocks or coal; to break a lock.
2. To lay open as by breaking; to divide; as, to break a package of goods.
3. To lay open, as a purpose; to disclose, divulge, or communicate.
Katharine, break thy mind to me. --Shak.
4. To infringe or violate, as an obligation, law, or promise.
Out, out, hyena! these are thy wonted arts . . .
To break all faith, all vows, deceive, betray. --Milton
5. To interrupt; to destroy the continuity of; to dissolve or terminate; as, to break silence; to break one's sleep; to break one's journey.
Go, release them, Ariel;
My charms I'll break, their senses I'll restore. --Shak.
6. To destroy the completeness of; to remove a part from; as, to break a set.
7. To destroy the arrangement of; to throw into disorder; to pierce; as, the cavalry were not able to break the British squares.
8. To shatter to pieces; to reduce to fragments.
The victim broke in pieces the musical instruments with which he had solaced the hours of captivity. --Prescott.
9. To exchange for other money or currency of smaller denomination; as, to break a five dollar bill.
10. To destroy the strength, firmness, or consistency of; as, to break flax.
11. To weaken or impair, as health, spirit, or mind.
An old man, broken with the storms of state. --Shak.
12. To diminish the force of; to lessen the shock of, as a fall or blow.
I'll rather leap down first, and break your fall. --Dryden.
13. To impart, as news or information; to broach; -- with to, and often with a modified word implying some reserve; as, to break the news gently to the widow; to break a purpose cautiously to a friend.
14. To tame; to reduce to subjection; to make tractable; to discipline; as, to break a horse to the harness or saddle. “To break a colt.”
Why, then thou canst not break her to the lute? --Shak.
15. To destroy the financial credit of; to make bankrupt; to ruin.
With arts like these rich Matho, when he speaks,
Attracts all fees, and little lawyers breaks. --Dryden.
16. To destroy the official character and standing of; to cashier; to dismiss.
I see a great officer broken. --Swift.
Note: With prepositions or adverbs: --
To break down. (a) To crush; to overwhelm; as, to break down one's strength; to break down opposition. (b) To remove, or open a way through, by breaking; as, to break down a door or wall.
To break in. (a) To force in; as, to break in a door. (b) To train; to discipline; as, a horse well broken in.
To break of, to rid of; to cause to abandon; as, to break one of a habit.
To break off. (a) To separate by breaking; as, to break off a twig. (b) To stop suddenly; to abandon. “Break off thy sins by righteousness.” --Dan. iv. 27.
To break open, to open by breaking. “Open the door, or I will break it open.” --Shak.
To break out, to take or force out by breaking; as, to break out a pane of glass.
To break out a cargo, to unstow a cargo, so as to unload it easily.
To break through. (a) To make an opening through, as, as by violence or the force of gravity; to pass violently through; as, to break through the enemy's lines; to break through the ice. (b) To disregard; as, to break through the ceremony.
To break up. (a) To separate into parts; to plow (new or fallow ground). “Break up this capon.” --Shak. “Break up your fallow ground.” --Jer. iv. 3. (b) To dissolve; to put an end to. “Break up the court.” --Shak.
To break (one) all up, to unsettle or disconcert completely; to upset. [Colloq.]
Note: With an immediate object: --
To break the back. (a) To dislocate the backbone; hence, to disable totally. (b) To get through the worst part of; as, to break the back of a difficult undertaking.
To break bulk, to destroy the entirety of a load by removing a portion of it; to begin to unload; also, to transfer in detail, as from boats to cars.
To break a code to discover a method to convert coded messages into the original understandable text.
To break cover, to burst forth from a protecting concealment, as game when hunted.
To break a deer or To break a stag, to cut it up and apportion the parts among those entitled to a share.
To break fast, to partake of food after abstinence. See Breakfast.
To break ground. (a) To open the earth as for planting; to commence excavation, as for building, siege operations, and the like; as, to break ground for a foundation, a canal, or a railroad. (b) Fig.: To begin to execute any plan. (c) Naut. To release the anchor from the bottom.
To break the heart, to crush or overwhelm (one) with grief.
To break a house Law, to remove or set aside with violence and a felonious intent any part of a house or of the fastenings provided to secure it.
To break the ice, to get through first difficulties; to overcome obstacles and make a beginning; to introduce a subject.
To break jail, to escape from confinement in jail, usually by forcible means.
To break a jest, to utter a jest. “Patroclus . . . the livelong day breaks scurril jests.” --Shak.
To break joints, to lay or arrange bricks, shingles, etc., so that the joints in one course shall not coincide with those in the preceding course.
To break a lance, to engage in a tilt or contest.
To break the neck, to dislocate the joints of the neck.
To break no squares, to create no trouble. [Obs.]
To break a path, road, etc., to open a way through obstacles by force or labor.
To break upon a wheel, to execute or torture, as a criminal by stretching him upon a wheel, and breaking his limbs with an iron bar; -- a mode of punishment formerly employed in some countries.
To break wind, to give vent to wind from the anus.
Syn: -- To dispart; rend; tear; shatter; batter; violate; infringe; demolish; destroy; burst; dislocate.
n 1: a restraint used to slow or stop a vehicle
2: any of various ferns of the genus Pteris having pinnately
compound leaves and including several popular houseplants
3: large coarse fern often several feet high; essentially weed
ferns; cosmopolitan [syn: bracken, pasture brake, Pteridium
4: an area thickly overgrown usually with one kind of plant
v 1: stop travelling by applying a brake; "We had to brake
suddenly when a chicken crossed the road"
2: cause to stop by applying the brakes; "brake the car before
you go into a curve"