break even

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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. When I play the slot machines, I'm happy when I break even. And then I wonder why I'm even playing.
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break even

for income to equal expenses. (This implies that money was not made or lost.) Unfortunately, my business just managed to break even last year. I made a bad investment, but I broke even.
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break even

to earn as much money as you spent Some of the books we publish do not sell enough copies to break even.
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break even

if a person or a business breaks even, they do not make or lose any money from their business After a bad year in 1995, the company just about broke even in 1996.
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break even

Neither gain nor lose in some venture, recoup the amount one invested. For example, If the dealer sells five cars a week, he'll break even. This expression probably came from one or another card game (some authorities say it was faro), where it meant to bet that a card would win and lose an equal number of times. It soon was transferred to balancing business gains and losses. Novelist Sinclair Lewis so used it in Our Mr. Wrenn (1914). The usage gave rise to the noun break-even point, for the amount of sales or production needed for a firm to recoup its investment. [Late 1800s]
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break even

To gain an amount equal to that invested, as in a commercial venture.
See also: break, even