1. To cause to separate into pieces suddenly or violently; smash.
a. To divide into pieces, as by bending or cutting: break crackers for a baby.
b. To separate into components or parts: broke the work into discrete tasks.
3. To snap off or detach: broke a twig from the tree.
a. To cause to undergo a fracture of (a bone, for example): The impact of the fall broke his leg.
b. To experience a fracture in (a bone, for example): I broke my wrist when skateboarding.
5. To crack without separating into pieces: broke the mirror.
a. To destroy the completeness of (a group of related items): broke the set of books by giving some away.
b. To exchange for smaller monetary units: break a dollar.
7. To vary or disrupt the uniformity or continuity of: a plain that was broken by low hills; caught the ball without breaking stride.
8. Electricity To render (a circuit) inoperative by disruption; open.
9. To open (a shotgun or similar firearm) at the breech, as for loading or cleaning.
a. To force or make a way through; puncture or penetrate: The blade barely broke the skin.
b. To part or pierce the surface of: a dolphin breaking water.
11. To produce (a sweat) copiously on the skin, as from exercise.
12. To force one's way out of; escape from: break jail.
13. To make or bring about by cutting or forcing: break a trail through the woods.
a. To find an opening or flaw in: They couldn't break my alibi.
b. To find the solution or key to; uncover the basic elements and arrangement of: break a code; break a spy ring.
15. To make known, as news: break a story.
16. To surpass or outdo: broke the league's home-run record.
17. To overcome or put an end to, especially by force or strong opposition: break a deadlock in negotiations; break a strike.
18. Sports To win a game on (an opponent's service), as in tennis.
19. To lessen the force or effect of: break a fall.
20. To render useless or inoperative: We accidentally broke the radio.
21. To weaken or destroy, as in spirit or health; overwhelm with adversity: "For a hero loves the world till it breaks him" (William Butler Yeats).
22. To cause the ruin or failure of (an enterprise, for example): Indiscretion broke both marriage and career.
23. To reduce in rank; demote.
24. To cause to be without money or to go into bankruptcy.
25. To fail to fulfill; cancel: break an engagement.
26. To fail to conform to; violate: break the speed limit.
27. Law To cause (a will) to be invalidated because of inconsistency with state inheritance laws or as a result of other legal insufficiency.
a. To give up (a habit).
b. To cause to give up a habit: They managed to break themselves of smoking.
29. To train to obey; tame: The horse was difficult to break.