breaking point

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breaking point

1. Literally, the point at which an object or machine ceases to function or falls apart. Don't put anything else on that chair—it's wobbling and looks to be close to the breaking point. Based on that terrible noise, it sounds like your car is at the breaking point.
2. By extension, the point at which an overworked or overburdened person, system, organization, etc., fails, give ups, or collapses. I was already fed up with my husband's lazy, selfish ways, but his refusal to come with me to my mother's funeral was the breaking point. With governmental resources already strained to the breaking point, any sort of environmental disaster would likely be catastrophic.
See also: breaking, point

breaking point

 
1. Lit. the point at which something will break. The mule's back was strained to the breaking point with masses of bundles and straw.
2. Fig. the point at which nerves or one's mental state can endure no more. My nerves are at the breaking point.
See also: breaking, point
References in classic literature ?
The girl's nerves were at the breaking point. She wondered that she had not fainted under the strain of terror and shock.
"Within the last few months it became increasingly plain to me that Sir Charles's nervous system was strained to the breaking point. He had taken this legend which I have read you exceedingly to heart--so much so that, although he would walk in his own grounds, nothing would induce him to go out upon the moor at night.
At that moment the appearance of Flora could not but bring the tension to the breaking point. She came out in all innocence but not without vague dread.
Often the sensitive lad's nerves were strained to the breaking point by the inhuman torture he was constantly forced to inflict upon creatures that had learned to trust him.
She, too, has reached the breaking point. She loved him before the accident.
The tension on our nerves was near the breaking point, and I doubt if any of us breathed for the few moments he held us covered by his glass; and then he lowered it and we could see him shout a command to the warriors who had passed from our sight behind the ridge.
Rokoff's nerves were keyed to the breaking point. With a shriek he sprang toward an adjoining room, but the ape-man was upon his back while his leap was yet but half completed.
"The Breaking Point series has clearly emerged as break through programming on Indian Armed Forces.
The telecast of a special series on High Altitude Warfare School follows the successful premier of the Breaking Point serieson Women Fighter Pilots, Air Force Academy and Indian Submariners earlier this year.
The last duration requirement satisfied during the session was recorded as the breaking point. Duration step sizes were increased by 0.1 s each session until the fifth session, after which a PD 0.5-s schedule (PD 0.5) was maintained.
If so, the breaking point under the type of PD schedule we arranged may not be as valuable as the breaking point under a PR schedule as a measure of how much behavior an organism will allocate to a given reinforcer.
We examined the effects of naloxone, an opioid antagonist, on the breaking points in free-fed Long-Evans rats responding for SCM under a PD schedule.
Figure 1 depicts the dose-response curves for the breaking points and the number of lever presses per reinforcer delivery for all rats.
Data explosion drives networks (and system administrators) to the breaking point
Fueled by an increase in email and Internet usage and data-intensive applications, traditional server-based storage solutions are being pushed to the breaking point. Even beyond bottlenecks, network crashes, and data corruption, the need for management and day-to-day troubleshooting is beginning to dominate the time and attention of network personnel and continues to drive administration costs.