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BREAK: Collocation and Idioms

Collocation and idioms of BREAK with examples

Idioms are groups of words with a fixed meaning unrelated to the meanings of individual words. Sometimes called expression, the term can be very colorful and make an "image" in our minds.

Collocations are a pair or group of words that are habitually juxtaposed.


Collocation and Idioms with "break"

Some of the Collocation with "Break" can form sentences "as a verb and noun", and use them "as idioms." 

Here are some:

1. Break a code: To determine or decipher a secret code. 

  • Scientists worked day and night to break the code.

2. Break a bone: Literally, to break a bone.

  • Fathi broke his bone while striking his final goal.


3. Break a habit: To stop doing a routine action or activity.

  • Do you know it takes 28 days to break a habit?


4. Break a law: To do something that is illegal. 

  • If you break a law, you go to prison.


5. Break a promise: To fail to do what you promised to do.

  • I know he wouldn't break a promise to me, so I try to keep this promise.


6. Break a record: To do something to a higher or greater degree than the greatest extent currently known.

  • You and me, today we’re going to break a record, he said.


7. Break a window: Literally, to break a window.

  • I had to break a window to get into the house.


8. Break ground:

A: Do preparatory digging or other work prior to building or planting something.

  • This tractor can break ground in the spring and throw snow in the winter. 

B: Do something innovative and beneficial.

  • It broke ground by holding a national convention to select its candidates last year.


9. Break new ground: To advance, innovate, or pioneer (something). 

  • They've really broken new ground with their latest product—I've never seen anything like it.


10. Break the news: To reveal information, often that which is bad or upsetting. 

  • The police had to break the news to the boy's parents.


11. Break one's fall: To interrupt, prevent, or soften one's fall, either physically or figuratively. 

  • When the little boy fell out of the window, the bushes broke his fall.


12. Break someone's heart: To cause one to feel great sadness. This phrase is often said about the end of a romantic relationship.

  • It would break her heart when they'd have to leave.


13. Break the rules: Literally, to break the rules.

  • If you break the rules and get caught, you should be penalized.


14. Break the silence:

A: To make noise when it is otherwise silent. 

  • Ok, I'll break the silence—what are we going to do to fix this problem?" 
B: To voice an opinion or comment on something after initially avoiding doing so. 
  • It took days, but the mayor has finally broken the silence on the scandal at city hall.


15. Break the spell

A: Literally, to stop the effects of a magic spell, as in a fantasy story or film. 
    • My kids love this movie—it's about a group of animals working to break a spell on their forest.

B: By extension, to stop one from being charmed by or enthralled with someone or something. 

    • I was totally smitten with my date, until his sexism started to come out—that totally broke the spell!

16. Break down:

A: Verb Of a machine, to malfunction or break altogether. 

  • I'm afraid the blender is breaking down. It stopped working again today.

B: Verb To fail or cease. 

  • Negotiations have broken down again, and I'm starting to worry that we'll never reach an agreement for a new contract.

C: Verb To destroy a physical structure. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "break" and "down." 

  • I'll break this door down if you don't come out here right now!

D: Verb To dismantle a societal obstacle. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "break" and "down." 

  • We owe a lot to the pioneering activists of earlier eras, who battled prejudice and broke down barriers.

E: Verb To lose control of one's emotions, especially sadness or grief. 

  • My mother seemed fine this morning, but she completely broke down at the funeral and cried through the whole thing.

F: Verb To methodically explain something step by step. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "break" and "down." 

  • Can you break down the healthcare proposal to me? I'm not very well informed about it.

G: Verb To reduce something to its component parts. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "break" and "down." 

  • If you break down water, it's just hydrogen and oxygen molecules.

H: Verb To get someone else to do what one wants, often by coercion. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is typically used between "break" and "down." 

  • I'll threaten him if I have to—anything to break him down and get that classified information from him.

I: Verb To give in to pressure; to acquiesce.

  • If we keep asking mom and dad to get pizza, eventually they'll break down and order it.

J: Noun A state of collapse that is typically induced by some form of stress. In this usage, the phrase is typically written as one word. 

  • Once I learned the extent of my injuries, I had a complete breakdown and didn't leave my room for weeks.

K: Noun A methodical, step-by-step explanation of something. In this usage, the phrase is typically written as one word. 

  • Can you give me a breakdown of the healthcare proposal? I'm not very well informed about it.

L: Noun An itemized list. In this usage, the phrase is typically written as one word. 

  • We'd like to see a breakdown of the bill so we can see everything we've been charged for.


17. Break the ice: To do something as a means of reducing or eliminating shyness, awkward tension, or unfamiliarity.

  • Everyone was deathly silent after Samantha went and left the meeting. I tried breaking the ice with a joke, but it didn't help.


18. Break a leg: A phrase of encouragement typically said to one who is about to perform before an audience, especially a theater actor. It is thought to be used due to the superstition that wishing one "good luck" will result in the opposite, but the exact origin of the phrase is unknown. 

  • You all look great in your costumes! Break a leg!


19. Break even: Of a financial enterprise, to neither gain profit nor incur debt; to earn and spend money in equal amounts.

  • Thanks to increased sales this quarter, I'm confident that we will break even.


20. Break loose: To physically separate from something. This phrase can be applied to both people and things. 

  • The robber had tied me to a chair, but I was able to break loose and flee the house.


21. Break free

A: To escape from physical restraints, or to detach or separate something from an obstacle or restraint. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "break" and "free." 
  • The robber had tied me to a chair, but I was able to break free and run to safety.

B: To move away or separate from someone or something. 

  • I'm starting to break free from the religious tradition I was raised in.


22. Break with tradition: To do something in a new, different, or unique way.

  • I'm from a family of doctors, so I really broke with tradition when I went to art school!


23. Break it up: To stop a fight, especially a physical altercation. Often used an imperative addressing those fighting.

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