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break (someone)

To completely destroy, defeat, or humiliate someone. Don't cross me, man, I will break you. That upstart company thinks it can challenge our hold in the market? We'll just have to break them, without mercy.
See also: break


a chance; another chance or a second chance. (*Typically: get ~; have ~; give someone ~.) I'm sorry. Please don't send me to the principal's office. Give me a break! I got a nice break. They didn't send me to prison.

break (up) (into something)

to divide into smaller parts. The glass broke up into a thousand pieces. It hit the floor and broke up, flinging bits everywhere.


1. n. a chance; an opportunity. Come on, give me a break!
2. n. an escape from prison; a prison breakout. I hear there’s a break planned for tonight.
3. in. [for a news story] to unfold rapidly. (Journalism.) As the story continues to break, we will bring you the latest.
4. n. a solo played when the rest of the band stops. This is your break, Andy. Let’s hear it, man.


1. To fall into disorder, as a formation of soldiers.
2. To fail to conform to a prevailing or expected pattern or order: "Architectural experts have criticized the plaza in the past because it breaks rank with the distinctive façades of neighboring Fifth Avenue blocks, whose buildings are flush with the sidewalk" (Sharon Churcher).
References in classic literature ?
Then feed us and break us and handle and groom, And give us good riders and plenty of room, And launch us in column of squadron and see The way of the war-horse to "Bonnie Dundee"!
If Chelsea struggled to break us down, with the way we played against them, then a lot of teams will," Wright-Phillips said.
We took the game to them, their crowd was getting a bit frustrated with them not breaking us down, but they didn't have to break us down, we broke ourselves down and we got punished.
David Carruthers was held in a crackdown on offshore gambling sites which break US law by taking bets from punters in the States.
Steve Rooke's goal separated the sides, although Adams revealed: "Tipton threw everything at us but couldn't break us down.
But apart from those kicks, they found it really hard to break us down, which was pleasing.
Those worries and cares are not meant to break us but to make us, for our loving God truly cares for us.
We made a decision that it's going to test us, but it's never going to break us.
But if it doesn't happen it's not going to make or break us.
In a deeply moving moment, she said: "Quite often, people say 'it didn't break us, terrorism won't break us.
On Sunday we packed the midfield and made it hard for Bradford to break us down.
We lost the game but the performance was good and we didn't let Celtic break us down.
And anyone who tries to break us will surely fail and only make us stronger.
I accept you need to pick points up away as well but what happens on out pitch will make or break us.
The huge frustration was when they started lumping it long is that we conceded a goal from a team that had run out of ideas of how to break us down.