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Definition of break:

  1. A device for checking motion, or for measuring friction. See Brake, n. 9 & 10.
  2. A large four- wheeled carriage, having a straight body and calash top, with the driver's seat in front and the footman's behind.
  3. A projection or recess from the face of a building.
  4. An interruption in continuity in writing or printing, as where there is an omission, an unfilled line, etc.
  5. An interruption of continuity; change of direction; as, a break in a wall; a break in the deck of a ship.
  6. An interruption; a pause; as, a break in friendship; a break in the conversation.
  7. An opening made by fracture or disruption.
  8. An opening or displacement in the circuit, interrupting the electrical current.
  9. See Commutator.
  10. The first appearing, as of light in the morning; the dawn; as, the break of day; the break of dawn.
  11. To be crushed, or overwhelmed with sorrow or grief; as, my heart is breaking.
  12. To become weakened in constitution or faculties; to lose health or strength.
  13. To burst forth violently, as a storm.
  14. To burst forth; to make its way; to come to view; to appear; to dawn.
  15. To come apart or divide into two or more pieces, usually with suddenness and violence; to part; to burst asunder.
  16. To destroy the arrangement of; to throw into disorder; to pierce; as, the cavalry were not able to break the British squares.
  17. To destroy the completeness of; to remove a part from; as, to break a set.
  18. To destroy the financial credit of; to make bankrupt; to ruin.
  19. To destroy the official character and standing of; to cashier; to dismiss.
  20. To destroy the strength, firmness, or consistency of; as, to break flax.
  21. To diminish the force of; to lessen the shock of, as a fall or blow.
  22. To exchange for other money or currency of smaller denomination; as, to break a five dollar bill.
  23. To fail in musical quality; as, a singer's voice breaks when it is strained beyond its compass and a tone or note is not completed, but degenerates into an unmusical sound instead. Also, to change in tone, as a boy's voice at puberty.
  24. To fall in business; to become bankrupt.
  25. To fall out; to terminate friendship.
  26. 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.
  27. To infringe or violate, as an obligation, law, or promise.
  28. 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.
  29. To lay bare; to lay open to attack, danger, or anything objectionable; to render accessible to anything which may affect, especially detrimentally; to make liable; as, to expose one's self to the heat of the sun, or to cold, insult, danger, or ridicule; to expose an army to destruction or defeat.
  30. To lay open as by breaking; to divide; as, to break a package of goods.
  31. To lay open, as a purpose; to disclose, divulge, or communicate.
  32. To make an abrupt or sudden change; to change the gait; as, to break into a run or gallop.
  33. To open spontaneously, or by pressure from within, as a bubble, a tumor, a seed vessel, a bag.
  34. To open up; to be scattered; to be dissipated; as, the clouds are breaking.
  35. To shatter to pieces; to reduce to fragments.
  36. 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.
  37. To tame; to reduce to subjection; to make tractable; to discipline; as, to break a horse to the harness or saddle.
  38. To weaken or impair, as health, spirit, or mind.


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