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.
adj : (of waves) curling over and crashing into surf or spray;
"the breaking waves"
n : the act of breaking something; "the breakage was
unavoidable" [syn: breakage, break]