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1. Literally, to escape from physical restraints. The robber had tied me to a chair, but I was able to break away and flee the house. I had to chase my dog down the street after he broke away during our walk.
2. By extension, to move away or separate from someone or something. I'm starting to break away from the religious tradition I was raised in. That 10-game win streak really helped them to break away from the other teams in the conference. Ultimately, she had to break away from her family and their dysfunctional ways in order to be healthy.
3. To leave or stop a particular activity. I know you have to finish this paper, but can you break away for a bit and talk to your grandparents?
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
break something away (from something)
to break a part or piece of something away from the whole. She broke a bit away and popped it into her mouth. Todd broke away a piece from the bar of candy.
break away(from someone) and break free (from someone); break loose (from someone)
1. Lit. to get free of the physical hold of someone. I tried to break away from him, but he was holding me too tight. She broke free from him, at last. I broke free from the intruder.
2. Fig. to sever a relationship with another person, especially the parent-child relationship. He found it hard to break away from his mother. She was almost thirty before she finally broke free.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. Leave hurriedly, escape, get loose. For example, The boy tried to break away, but his mother held onto his coat, or On the last lap the horse broke away from the pack. [First half of 1500s]
2. Sever connections with a group. For example, It was hard for me to break away from that organization, but I knew it was necessary.
3. Stop doing something, as in She broke away from work long enough to go out for lunch.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. To separate or detach something in order to clear a space: It was easier to dig through the snow once we had broken the icy crust away.
2. To separate or detach oneself: Our politics began to change, so we broke away from the political party we had belonged to. The ice on the shore began to break away once the weather got warmer.
3. To move rapidly away from or ahead of a group: The cyclist broke away from the pack and was soon very far ahead.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.