break loose(redirected from breaks loose)
all hell breaks loose
slang Said of a chaotic or disruptive situation, especially one that begins suddenly or unexpectedly. I'm just walking down the street when all hell breaks loose, and drivers start beeping and screaming at each other for no apparent reason. One guy pushed another at the bar and then all hell broke loose—that's why we left!
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. I had to chase my dog down the street after he broke loose during our walk.
(from someone) Go to break away (from someone).
Escape from restraint, as in The boat broke loose from its moorings, or He finally broke loose from the school of abstract expressionism. This expression also appears in all hell breaks loose, which indicates a state of fury or chaos, as in When Dad finds out you broke his watch, all hell will break loose, or When the children saw the dead pigeon in the hall, all hell broke loose. [Early 1400s]
all hell breaks looseor
all hell breaks outINFORMAL
COMMON If all hell breaks loose or all hell breaks out, a situation becomes uncontrolled and noisy, often with a lot of arguing or fighting. Suddenly, all hell broke loose upstairs. It sounded as if someone was battering at the door with a tree trunk. Toby came home and all hell broke loose. I had no idea that a baby could scream so much. Note: This expression first appeared in John Milton's `Paradise Lost' (1667), book 4, line 917, when the Archangel Gabriel addresses Satan: `Wherefore with thee Came not all hell broke loose?' (ie why did all hell not break loose and come with you?). Here, `broke' means `broken', but the meaning of this expression has since changed.