Phrasal Verbs with 'Break'

Break away

Leave an organisation, usually to form a new one

Example: The SDP BROKE AWAY from the Labour Party.

Break down

End negotiations unsuccessfully

Example: The talks between management and the unions BROKE DOWN acrimoniously.

Break down

Start crying

Example: He BROKE DOWN in tears.

Break down

Stop working

Example: My car's BROKEN DOWN, so I came by taxi.

Break down

Remove a barrier or obstacle

Example: He had to BREAK DOWN their opposition to his ideas.

Break for

To go or run towards a place, especially when you are trying to escape

Example: She had to hold him back as he tried to BREAK FOR the door.

Break in

Go into a building to steal something

Example: The burglars BROKE IN and stole the TV and video.

Break in

Interrupt something

Example: I'm sorry to BREAK IN on your conversation, but there's a problem.

Break in

Train a horse to be ridden

Example: It took ages to BREAK the horse IN.

Break in

Carefully use new products until they are fully functional.

Example: I must watch my speed until I BREAK IN my new Volvo.

Break into

Start doing something

Example: He BROKE INTO a run when he saw the police.

Break into

Be accepted into a profession or field

Example: She's trying to BREAK INTO acting.

Break into

Start to spend funds, usually out of necessity

Example: I had to BREAK INTO my savings to pay off the bills.

Break off

Break a piece from something

Example: She BROKE OFF a square of chocolate and gave it to her dog.

Break off

End a relationship

Example: She BROKE OFF their engagement when she found out that he'd been unfaithful.

Break out

Start (war, conflict)

Example: They're worried that war will BREAK OUT.

Break out in

Sweat heavily, develop skin sores or irritation.

Example: The measles caused me to BREAK OUT IN a rash.

Break out of


Example: Three dangerous Category A prisoners BROKE OUT OF Wandsworth Prison last night.

Break through

Pass a barrier or obstacle

Example: The crowd BROKE THROUGH the police barriers and attacked the hunters.

Break up

Break into many pieces

Example: The plate BROKE UP when he dropped it on the floor.

Break up

Close an educational institution for the holidays

Example: Schools BREAK UP at the end of June for the summer holidays.

Break up

Finish a relationship

Example: They had been going out for a couple of years before they BROKE UP.

Break up

Become inaudible over the telephone because of interference

Example: You're BREAKING UP; I'll call you back in a minute and see if we get a better connection.