Synonyms of break in English:


See US English definition of break

See UK English definition of break

See Spanish definition of romper


1‘the mirror fell to the floor, where it broke into pieces’

shatter, smash, smash to smithereens, crack, snap, fracture, fragment, splinter
disintegrate, fall to bits, fall to pieces
split, burst, blow out
tear, rend, sever, rupture, separate, divide
informal bust
rare shiver

repair, mend

2‘she had broken her leg in two places’

fracture, crack, smash

3‘the bite had barely broken the skin’

pierce, puncture, penetrate, perforate
cut, graze, make a flesh wound in

4‘the machine has broken and they can't fix it until next week’

stop working, cease to function, cease to work, break down, go wrong, give out, develop a fault, malfunction, be damaged, be unusable
informal go kaput, be on the blink, go on the blink, die, give up the ghost, conk out, go phut, go haywire, have had it
British informal pack up

5‘the council will prosecute traders who break the law’

contravene, violate, fail to comply with, fail to observe, disobey, infringe, breach, commit a breach of, transgress against
defy, flout, fly in the face of, ignore, disregard
Law infract

keep, abide by

6‘his concentration was broken by a sound’

interrupt, disturb, interfere with

7‘at mid-morning they broke for coffee’

stop, pause, have a break, take a break, have a rest
recess, suspend proceedings
informal knock off, have a breather, take a breather, take five


8‘he landed on a pile of carpets which broke his fall’

cushion, lessen the impact of, reduce the impact of, soften the impact of, take the edge off, diminish, moderate, mitigate

9‘the film broke box-office records’

exceed, surpass, beat, better, cap, top, trump, outdo, outstrip, go beyond, eclipse, put in the shade
informal leave standing

10‘deeply established habits are very difficult to break’

give up, relinquish, drop, get out of
informal kick, shake, pack in, quit

11‘the strategies used to break the union’

destroy, crush, smash, quash, defeat, vanquish, overcome, overpower, overwhelm, cripple, bring someone to their knees
weaken, enfeeble, sap, suppress, subdue, cow, dispirit, impair, undermine, demoralize, incapacitate, extinguish

12‘her self-control finally broke’

give way, collapse, crack, be overcome, give in, cave in, yield, crumple, go to pieces

13‘four thousand pounds wouldn't break him’

bankrupt, make bankrupt, ruin, reduce to penury, reduce to nothing, pauperize

14‘he tried to break the news gently’

reveal, disclose, divulge, let out
announce, tell, impart, make public, make known, release, proclaim

15‘Krycek managed to break the encryption code’

decipher, decode, decrypt, unravel, solve, work out
informal crack, figure out

16‘the day broke fair and cloudless’

dawn, begin, start, come into being, come forth, emerge, appear

17‘a political scandal broke in mid-1991’

erupt, burst out, break out

18‘overnight, the weather broke’

change, undergo a change, alter, shift, metamorphose

19‘waves broke against the rocks’

crash, dash, beat, pound, lash

20‘her voice broke as she relived the experience’

falter, quaver, quiver, tremble, shake


1‘the magazine has been published without a break since 1950’

interruption, interval, gap, hiatus, lapse of time, lacuna
discontinuation, discontinuance, discontinuity, suspension, disruption, cut-off
stop, stoppage, cessation
Prosody caesura
archaic surcease

2‘a break in the weather’

change, alteration, variation

3‘let's have a break and get something to eat’

rest, respite, interval, breathing space, lull, recess
stop, pause
tea break, coffee break
intermission, interlude, entr'acte
informal breather, let-up, time out, downtime
Australian, New Zealand informal smoko

4‘a weekend break’

time off, period of leave
British holiday, minibreak
North American vacation
informal staycation
British informal vac
North American informal vacay

5‘a break in diplomatic relations’

rift, gulf, chasm, division, difference, schism, disunion, estrangement, alienation
separation, split, break-up, parting, parting of the ways, severance, rupture
quarrel, falling-out
British informal bust-up
rare scission

6‘a break in the wall’

gap, opening, space, hole, breach, chink, crack, fissure, cleft, rift, chasm
tear, split, slit, rent, rupture

7‘she got her first break in 1951, with Broadway's ‘Gigi’’

opportunity, stroke of luck, chance, opening, foot in the door


    break up

    1‘after about an hour, the meeting broke up’

    come to an end, end, finish, stop, terminate
    adjourn, recess

    2‘the crowd began to break up’

    disperse, scatter, go in different directions, move in different directions, go separate ways, disband, separate, part company

    3‘Danny and I broke up last year’

    split up, separate, part, stop living together, part company, reach a parting of the ways, become estranged
    divorce, get divorced, get a divorce
    British informal bust up

    4‘the whole cast broke up’

    burst out laughing, start to laugh, roar with laughter, dissolve into laughter, shake with laughter, laugh uncontrollably, guffaw, be doubled up, split one's sides, hold one's sides
    informal be in stitches, crack up, crease up, be creased up, be rolling in the aisles
    British informal fall about, laugh like a drain
    break down

    1‘his van broke down’

    stop working, cease to function, cease to work, go wrong, seize up, give out, develop a fault
    informal conk out, go kaput, go on the blink, die, give up the ghost, go phut, have had it
    British informal pack up

    2‘pay negotiations with management broke down’

    fail, collapse, come to nothing, founder, fall through, come to grief, be unsuccessful, not succeed, disintegrate
    informal fizzle out

    3‘Vicky broke down, sobbing loudly’

    burst into tears, dissolve into tears
    lose control, be overcome, collapse, go to pieces, come apart at the seams, crumble, disintegrate
    informal crack up, lose it, lose one's cool
    break off

    ‘the fuselage had broken off just behind the pilot's seat’

    snap off, come off, become detached, become separated, become severed
    break away

    1‘Anna attempted to break away, but he held her tight’

    escape, get away, run away, make a break for it, make a run for it, run for it, make one's getaway, flee, make off
    break free, break loose, get out of someone's clutches
    informal cut and run, hook it
    British informal leg it

    2‘he broke away from the organization and formed a rival group’

    leave, secede from, break with, split with, split off from, separate from, separate oneself from, detach oneself from, part company with, disaffiliate from, defect from, desert
    form a splinter group
    break out

    1‘he broke out of jail’

    escape from, make one's escape from, break loose from, burst out of, abscond from, flee from
    get free

    2‘fighting broke out between rival army units’

    flare up, begin suddenly, start suddenly, erupt, burst out, blow up, set in
    break something down

    1‘they had to get the police to break the door down’

    knock down, kick down, stave in, smash in, pull down, tear down, demolish, destroy
    informal bust

    2‘break big tasks down into smaller, more manageable parts’

    divide, separate
    rare fractionate

    3‘graphs show how the information can be broken down’

    analyse, categorize, classify, sort out, itemize, organize
    examine, investigate
    rare anatomize
    break into

    1‘£1,500 was stolen when thieves broke into a house in Perth Street’

    burgle, rob
    force one's way into, burst into

    2‘Phil broke into the discussion’

    interrupt, butt into, cut in on, intervene in
    British put one's pennyworth in
    North American put one's two cents in

    3‘he broke into a song’

    begin suddenly, burst into, launch into
    break someone in

    ‘there was no time to break in a new foreign minister’

    train, prepare, prime, initiate, condition
    informal show someone the ropes
    break something off

    1‘I broke off a branch from one of the trees’

    snap off, pull off, sever, detach, separate
    rare dissever

    2‘Britain threatened to break off diplomatic relations’

    end, bring to an end, terminate, put an end to, call a halt to, stop, cease, finish, dissolve
    suspend, discontinue
    informal pull the plug on
    archaic sunder
    break something up

    1‘police tried to break up a crowd of about 10,000 people’

    disperse, scatter, disband, separate

    2‘I'm not going to let you break up my marriage’

    put an end to, bring to an end, destroy, wreck, ruin
    break in

    1‘thieves broke in and took her cheque book’

    commit burglary, break and enter
    force one's way in, burst in
    British archaic crack a crib

    2‘‘I don't want to interfere, ’ Mrs Hendry broke in’

    interrupt, butt in, chip in, cut in, interject, interpose, intervene, chime in
    interfere, put one's oar in, have one's say