break


break
{{11}}break (n.) c.1300, "act of breaking," from BREAK (Cf. break) (v.). Sense of "short interval between spells of work (originally between lessons at school) is from 1861. Meaning "stroke of luck" is attested by 1911, probably an image from billiards (where the break that starts the game is attested from 1865). Meaning "stroke of mercy" is from 1914. Musical sense, "improvised passage, solo" is attested from 1920s in jazz.
{{12}}break (v.) O.E. brecan "to break, shatter, burst; injure, violate, destroy, curtail; break into, rush into; burst forth, spring out; subdue, tame" (class IV strong verb; past tense bræc, pp. brocen), from P.Gmc. *brekan (Cf. O.Fris. breka, Du. breken, O.H.G. brehhan, Ger. brechen, Goth. brikan), from PIE root *bhreg- "to break" (see FRACTION (Cf. fraction)). Most modern senses were in Old English. In reference to the heart from early 13c. Meaning "to disclose" is from early 13c.
Break bread "share food" (with) is from late 14c. Break the ice is c.1600, in reference to the "coldness" of encounters of strangers. Break wind first attested 1550s. To break (something) out (1890s) probably is an image from dock work, of freeing cargo before unloading it. Ironic theatrical good luck formula break a leg has parallels in Ger. Hals- und Beinbruch "break your neck and leg," and It. in bocca al lupo. Evidence of a highly superstitious craft (also see MACBETH (Cf. Macbeth)).

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • Break — (br[=a]k), v. t. [imp. {broke} (br[=o]k), (Obs. {Brake}); p. p. {Broken} (br[=o] k n), (Obs. {Broke}); p. pr. & vb. n. {Breaking}.] [OE. breken, AS. brecan; akin to OS. brekan, D. breken, OHG. brehhan, G. brechen, Icel. braka to creak, Sw. braka …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Break — (br[=a]k), v. i. 1. To come apart or divide into two or more pieces, usually with suddenness and violence; to part; to burst asunder. [1913 Webster] 2. To open spontaneously, or by pressure from within, as a bubble, a tumor, a seed vessel, a bag …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • break — ► VERB (past broke; past part. broken) 1) separate into pieces as a result of a blow, shock, or strain. 2) make or become inoperative; stop working. 3) interrupt (a continuity, sequence, or course). 4) fail to observe (a law, regulation, or… …   English terms dictionary

  • break — vb Break, crack, burst, bust, snap, shatter, shiver are comparable as general terms meaning fundamentally to come apart or cause to come apart. Break basically implies the operation of a stress or strain that will cause a rupture, a fracture, a… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • break — [brāk] vt. broke, broken, breaking [ME breken < OE brecan < IE base * bhreg > BREACH, BREECH, Ger brechen, L frangere] 1. to cause to come apart by force; split or crack sharply into pieces; smash; burst 2. a) …   English World dictionary

  • break — / brāk/ vb broke / brōk/, bro·ken, / brō kən/, break·ing, / brā kiŋ/ vt 1 a: violate transgress break the law …   Law dictionary

  • break — [n1] fissure, opening breach, cleft, crack, discontinuity, disjunction, division, fracture, gap, gash, hole, rent, rift, rupture, schism, split, tear; concepts 230,757 Ant. association, attachment, binding, combination, fastening, juncture break… …   New thesaurus

  • Break — (br[=a]k), n. [See {Break}, v. t., and cf. {Brake} (the instrument), {Breach}, {Brack} a crack.] 1. An opening made by fracture or disruption. [1913 Webster] 2. An interruption of continuity; change of direction; as, a break in a wall; a break in …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • break-up — break ups also breakup 1) N COUNT: usu N of n, n N The break up of a marriage, relationship, or association is the act of it finishing or coming to an end because the people involved decide that it is not working successfully. Since the break up… …   English dictionary

  • break up — {v.} 1. To break into pieces. * /The workmen broke up the pavement to dig up the pipes under it./ * /River ice breaks up in the spring./ 2. {informal} To lose or destroy spirit or self control. Usually used in the passive. * /Mrs. Lawrence was… …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • break up — {v.} 1. To break into pieces. * /The workmen broke up the pavement to dig up the pipes under it./ * /River ice breaks up in the spring./ 2. {informal} To lose or destroy spirit or self control. Usually used in the passive. * /Mrs. Lawrence was… …   Dictionary of American idioms


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