Definition of broken in English:


Pronunciation /ˈbrōkən/ /ˈbroʊkən/

See synonyms for broken

Translate broken into Spanish


past participle of break


  • 1Having been fractured or damaged and no longer in one piece or in working order.

    ‘he had a broken arm’
    • ‘There's no quick or easy way to clean up a broken bottle of maple syrup.’
    • ‘Everyone survived but the poor girl has her arm broken and several stitches.’
    • ‘Last month's dispatches from the olive groves report internationals with broken ribs, broken arms and other injuries.’
    • ‘He suffered two broken legs, two broken arms, a broken collarbone and head injuries in the accident which happened in Bullar Road, Bitterne.’
    • ‘Joey was taken to the hospital with a broken arm and some bruises.’
    • ‘The Three Horseshoes Mall has seen an increase in crime including broken drainpipes, smashed bottles and graffiti daubed on shop windows.’
    • ‘We know she suffered a wound to her head as well as a broken arm, and broken legs, and a spinal injury, and her physical pain was clearly reflected in her strained smile.’
    • ‘And he'd collapse in sobs as his broken leg and arm twitch in painful spasms from the sudden movement.’
    • ‘Accidents may be inevitable in such a risk-taking environment, but the worst that has happened in three years is two broken arms and one broken leg.’
    • ‘A week in a coma and three months in hospital were about right for his fractured skull and pelvis, broken leg, arm and collarbone.’
    • ‘He suffered a broken arm, broken ribs and wounds to his head and upper body and was taken to Waterford Regional Hospital.’
    • ‘Arming myself with some broken furniture I crept back downstairs.’
    • ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and a leaky tire.’
    • ‘Left in a building, Isa crawled through a broken fan vent at 3 am and ran for help.’
    • ‘When I told her the name of the backpacker hostel, where I had a stuffy room with a broken fan, she immediately suggested we go there.’
    • ‘Playgrounds in Iqaluit are great, but I'm worried about the safety because they're always broken.’
    • ‘About 750 of its residents are homeless, and many are sick, some with broken bones.’
    • ‘The council has revealed potential health hazards, like broken rails and track wear and tear, have led to the closure.’
    • ‘Anne still had no money, no good job prospects, poor health, broken plumbing, and three scarred kids.’
    • ‘If a tooth has been broken, or weakened by a lot of decay or a large filling, a crown can be fitted to strengthen it.’
    smashed, shattered, burst, fragmented, splintered, shivered, crushed, snapped, rent, torn, ruptured, separated, severed, in bits, in pieces
    fractured, damaged, injured, maimed
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    1. 1.1(of a marriage or other long-term relationship) having ended.
      ‘Also, Frank's broken relationship with Brenda leaves something to be desired in the way of resolution.’
      • ‘Maggie is fleeing a broken relationship when she encounters a teenage girl on the train.’
      • ‘A broken relationship with a boyfriend dealt a serious blow to her confidence and again was made out to be a major catastrophe.’
      • ‘Kelly, had a broken relationship that causing was her a great deal of distress.’
      • ‘Jennifer Lopez has blamed her plethora of broken relationships on her fear of being alone.’
      • ‘Many of our clients have this view of life, they have a history of broken relationships, either with their parents or their girl friends/wives.’
      • ‘It is often not easy to mend a broken relationship in a women's group.’
      • ‘How does one deal with the pain of broken relationships, especially if the breakup was not by mutual agreement?’
      • ‘She wanted to start re-establishing her broken relationship with her sister.’
      • ‘The last month had been hell for both of us with broken relationships to deal with on top of finals to complete.’
      • ‘Saying that you are sorry and meaning it is the first step to healing a broken relationship.’
      • ‘They tell of a sad trip through a winter landscape away from a broken love-affair.’
      failed, ended
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    2. 1.2Denoting a family in which the parents are divorced or separated.
      ‘he grew up poor in a broken family’
      • ‘unable to survive in this broken household, Michael moved around foster homes’
      • ‘El Saico's life story is the tale of a struggle to construct an identity in the context of a broken family devoid of affection.’
      • ‘Obviously, a broken and smaller family has a smaller social network and can offer only limited social control.’
      • ‘She is sort of my makeshift mom; my makeshift mom in my broken little family.’
      • ‘It had really hurt knowing that she was powerless to fix her broken family unit.’
      • ‘But the restoration of broken communities and disrupted lives now rests in our hands.’
      • ‘I looked down at my feet as I spoke, ashamed of my broken and pathetic family.’
      • ‘Spin and bull aside, Iraq is shattered, broken, and divided, weaker than it was before and more unstable.’
      • ‘It isn't just socially disadvantaged young girls from broken families that are lured into the sex trade, said Sowden.’
      • ‘Should we do more to enable these broken families to be reunited in Canada, or should we provide assistance in the home countries?’
      • ‘From a broken family and brought up in a council house, Davis, the shadow home secretary, rose to become a successful businessman.’
      • ‘How many broken families have solo parents and varying numbers of children?’
      • ‘Members of organised gangs were typically boys from broken families and lower-class backgrounds.’
      • ‘The broken families that result have exposed sibling children to increased risk.’
      • ‘She had no previous convictions and herself came from a broken family.’
      • ‘Reports revealed that she was brought up in a broken family without love and care.’
      • ‘She too came from a broken family and, besides, she says, she was so in love.’
      • ‘Whether confronting the pain of a broken family or singing about girls, this is music to bounce to.’
      • ‘His depiction of the passing of age, of the loss of dignity and the tragedy of a broken family keeps this play together.’
      • ‘The resulting epidemic of broken families has been a disaster, especially for the children of divorce.’
      • ‘Now, Jeana was Queen over a broken people, and it was her duty to continue the search for the Guardians.’
    3. 1.3(of an agreement or promise) not observed by one of the parties involved.
      ‘After thirteen broken peace agreements and fourteen years of brutal war, will this deal hold?’
      • ‘There are two things they despise: broken promises, and outsiders who try to control their land.’
      • ‘For the next four years I don't want a bunch of empty and broken promises.’
      • ‘Many of you wrote in about the broken promises to this country's veterans.’
      • ‘But we cannot count on election theft and broken promises to cancel each other out every time.’
      • ‘Quite a few voters will have been waiting for some time to punish the government parties for what they perceive as broken promises.’
      • ‘The Democratic National Committee has got a new ad out on this specific issue, broken promises.’
      • ‘Why one doctor says medical care in this country is now a broken promise.’
      • ‘If you don't go ahead with the elections, that's a broken promise from our country.’
      • ‘Do you see this as a broken promise by the president in the last year-and-a-half?’
      • ‘He denounced broken promises and pledged accountability, responsibility and humility.’
      • ‘He ruined her with his empty, broken promises and his declarations of imaginary friendship.’
      • ‘Tonight, a disturbing personal account of the government's broken promises.’
      • ‘Maybe she was remembering his broken promise to call and write, too.’
      • ‘Many times spring is a time of missed deadlines, broken promises, and costs that always seem to exceed estimates.’
      • ‘As a result of a broken treaty the two tribes of Indians had joined forces under the command of Sitting Bull and his second in command Crazy Horse.’
      • ‘The foundation of our nation is based on broken treaties.’
      • ‘We think of the disasters of war and the disasters of famine as belonging to separate categories, but the prophets saw both as aspects of the broken covenant.’
      • ‘All thoughts of the broken pact slipped from Arlan's mind as he started for her in concern.’
      • ‘Most of the broken engagements are over the hidden or false information provided by the parents of the boy.’
  • 2(of a person) having given up all hope; despairing.

    ‘he went to his grave a broken man’
    • ‘Johnny Bonner is one of the broken people of the world but he's kept alive by being part of a river of song, and he needs to share it.’
    • ‘But he then appeared quite a broken person as he was led away, didn't say any further words.’
    • ‘Mary was one of those broken people, a life thwarted from what it could be.’
    • ‘These broken people who may never have the chance to lead normal and fruitful lives are not completely in despair.’
    • ‘This is the story of how a broken person forms his identity and forges his armour.’
    • ‘We are, many of us, aware that we're not perfect, that we are in fact broken people.’
    • ‘There is something more remarkable still, for the Lord has a response to these broken people.’
    • ‘They were all looking at him, every one of the kids, as they saw what a broken person he had become.’
    • ‘A broken man, Sheriff flees into exile on an oil tanker and declares himself a refugee when the ship reaches international waters.’
    • ‘About an hour and a half later, I was a broken woman.’
    • ‘Tom Fitzpatrick, defending, said Turner was a broken man.’
    • ‘Lorry driver Kevin Callan died a broken man at the age of 45.’
    • ‘From then on, the Eagles looked a broken team, worn down by the heat of the day and the determined efforts of the Knights to match their powerful pack.’
    • ‘Mr Crowe is compelling as the broken scientist with a heavy conscience.’
    • ‘As the contemporary story begins it's that broken kid, Dave, we first focus on, now a damaged adult.’
    • ‘The accident has left her a broken woman and an inadequate mother to their young daughter, Ruthie.’
    • ‘In the end the brave man who survived the Normandy landings had to admit defeat and it left him a broken man.’
    • ‘As he shuffled into court, his hands and legs chained, Nick du Toit looked a broken man.’
    • ‘Yet the notion of Clinton as a broken man is one with which he will have no truck.’
    • ‘He died a broken man and was buried only a couple of miles away from his birthplace.’
    defeated, beaten, vanquished, overpowered, overwhelmed, subdued
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  • 3Having breaks or gaps in continuity.

    ‘a broken white line across the road’
    • ‘Witness Mr Fogarty an engineer agreed with this, stating that it was not a good place to overtake and that the broken white line was misleading.’
    • ‘What is the point of painting double parallel, barred white lines down the middle of the road, when a single broken white line has told us for years where the middle of the road is?’
    • ‘If the area is bordered by a broken white line, you should not enter the area unless it is necessary and you can see that it is safe to do so.’
    • ‘A broken white line meant to divide the street into lanes inexplicably bends, crossing it.’
    • ‘The broken continuity can be explained in terms of Marxist value theory.’
    • ‘They have yellow eyes and facial disks that are mostly white, edged with broken black rings.’
    • ‘Whilst considering the other end of the road I have noticed that at the roundabout there you find broken lines crossing the carriageway at an oblique angle.’
    • ‘Most of the Mfengu designs of that period were lozenges, broken lines, triangles, and stripes.’
    • ‘Fourteen dancers explored intricate movement and gestures, broken lines and dissected flows.’
    • ‘A bright, vermilion ground has been almost obliterated by some 17 rectangles meeting on broken lines.’
    • ‘Because the weather is continuing in such a broken fashion, it will mean delays of up to five or six weeks for most farmers.’
    • ‘Instead, he makes allusions to history and social realities through bold, broken lines.’
    • ‘I felt I was there for a reason: to finally connect two ends of a long broken line.’
    • ‘Do you see the arrow points to a broken line, and adjacent to the broken line is the letter.’
    • ‘The broken line has arrows pointing to both B and C; this indicates that the similarity relation may also go in both ways.’
    • ‘The results from both are given in the graphs as separate curves in broken lines and they are quite similar.’
    • ‘High above the building rooftop across the alley birds flew a broken black line in blue night sky.’
    • ‘The broken lines represent limiting values based on data of Burton.’
    • ‘What is shown is a broken line whose starting and ending points are denoted by the same letter.’
    • ‘Data points for control plants are joined by broken lines for clarity.’
    interrupted, disturbed, fitful, disrupted, disconnected, discontinuous, fragmentary, intermittent, unsettled, sporadic, spasmodic, erratic, troubled, incomplete
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    1. 3.1(of speech or a language) spoken falteringly, as if overcome by emotion, or with many mistakes, as by a foreigner.
      ‘a young man talking in broken Italian’
      • ‘He spoke in broken English and claimed to be Italian.’
      • ‘Han prefers to employ Asian males who can speak broken English.’
      • ‘In fact it might even pay to speak broken English, perhaps with a Norwegian accent, when striding around ex-British colonies.’
      • ‘The crew came out but Andria said they were speaking in broken English, before emergency crews began the rescue operation.’
      • ‘Now it has emerged he speaks only broken English and needed an interpreter to sit with him at his first full council meeting.’
      • ‘The complainant, Cappelli, is an Italian gentleman, speaking in broken English.’
      • ‘Campana, speaking in broken English, said he had no idea his fiancée would be in the city.’
      • ‘Issac cannot even speak broken English, and there are efforts to install him as a coach.’
      • ‘When the man reappeared, along with several others, Buckner began to speak to them in broken English.’
      • ‘The Press of Atlantic City interviewed Kuras, who spoke in confused, broken English.’
      • ‘The only people she would be able to talk to in English would be Ovidiu, and marginally to Rica with the broken language he was still trying to learn.’
      • ‘Conversing in Arabic just might be beyond most of us, but striking up the odd conversation in broken French ought to be manageable.’
      • ‘It's very frustrating being ridiculed or ignored when using my broken French in a social setting.’
      • ‘He knew that it was broken French, but he'd only been in that class for two whole months now.’
      • ‘As I replied to a question in broken French, the people around me instantly became aware of my language barrier.’
      • ‘I can't speak French so I started yelling back at him in broken German.’
      • ‘Mike started to speak, but only broken sentences and grunts came out.’
      • ‘I grabbed a taxi and spoke in my broken Korean for The White Swan Hotel.’
      • ‘When you picked up the phone in some of the command units you didn't get a dial tone but a male voice speaking in broken Arabic.’
      halting, hesitating, disjointed, faltering, stumbling, stammering, stuttering, imperfect
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  • 4Having an uneven and rough surface.

    ‘broken ground’
    • ‘Through a slick sheen of soft rain the broken surfaces of the pavement spread out before me.’
    • ‘Three hours later, we finally shake the sand off our boots onto the broken, rocky surface of Ice Valley.’
    • ‘Comfort for passengers was good at all times, even on the most broken surfaces, though the ride often feels quite firm.’
    • ‘The Seat, you feel, could cope as well with a buckled road across a midlands bog as with the broken surfaces in towns and cities.’
    • ‘Its suspension easily absorbed broken street surfaces and the precise steering made it easy to place in traffic.’
    • ‘I found it did get unsettled when pushed hard on broken surfaces.’
    • ‘Although you can hear bangs as the car rides over the broken surfaces, comfort levels for occupants remain very good.’
    • ‘Cross broken ground and follow the line of fence posts to the top of the hill.’
    • ‘Two ambulances had appeared from somewhere behind the tanks and were bumping and bucking as fast as their drivers dared take them across the broken ground.’
    • ‘The impact of each bolt tore deep wounds in the broken ground, sending the survivors reeling backward.’
    • ‘Rianey was running for the broken ground ahead, where she'd have some cover.’
    • ‘When the eggs are ready, the female deposits each egg in turn on the sea bed, generally in areas of broken ground, where the eggs can be anchored to rocks.’
    • ‘Of course patches of gravel might not be bars they may be just broken ground with the same depth as surrounding water, still good features though.’
    • ‘If the ground you are casting onto has areas of broken rocky ground or shallow reef, then fish will feed through the ebb tide as well.’
    • ‘It sounded like the ground was pursing it's lips as diggers shuffled their boots on the broken ground underfoot.’
    • ‘Mainly found over broken ground, small eels are less discerning in their choice of habitat.’
    • ‘Just short of the summit of the bealach climb the broken and craggy slopes west to a ridge high above the Garbh Coire of Ben Alder.’
    • ‘Yet its weight and density provided my only hope of getting near the broken ground and the bass.’
    • ‘The suspension copes well with our broken streets and bumpy corners hold no fears for it.’
    • ‘The road was uneven, full of random stones and broken asphalt, thrusting themselves in all directions.’
    uneven, rough, irregular, bumpy
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