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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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.


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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


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.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


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).
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
Even should I break one of them with my first blow, for I figured that he would attempt to ward off the cudgel, he could reach out and annihilate me with the others before I could recover for a second attack.
She apprehended some mischief would happen to me from rude vulgar folks, who might squeeze me to death, or break one of my limbs by taking me in their hands.
Those allusions to your lonely life are so dreadful, my dear, that I have destroyed your letter; it is enough to break one's heart only to look at it.
Then the cruel creatures laughed, and repeated what they had said the day before; but when Ferko continued to beg and beseech them, the eldest said at last, 'If you will let us put out one of your eyes and break one of your legs, then we will give you a bit of our bread.'
to embark on an effort to find her nanny who took care of her more than 50 years ago, and as she was about to give up on the mission after weeks of getting nowhere, she got a break one day that eventually led to a reunion with her nanny.
Acaylar led Perpetual to 10 men's titles and three women's titles but the school is on a five-year championship drought, a dry spell Carino hopes to break one step at a time.
Boylesports say host Tubs is 4/6 on to make a child cry tonight - whether it be tears of joy or not - and that he's 11/4 to break one of the toys on show.
Aitor Karanka's team go into the international break one point behind leaders Bournemouth and level on points with Watford, in second.
You might break one of the latches inside the housing.
Bullock said that life was full of painful moments, unexpected moments, and things that will break one's heart and that in between those moments, there are times when one savors.
Break one egg into the hole and beat it into the mixture adding a drop of milk, a little at a time, until you have a batter that is a smooth dropping consistency.
Nutrient injections break one's fast and if it is absolutely necessary, medically, to administer them, the person receiving such injections must make up for the missed fasting days, the body said.
Wigan manager Paul Jewell has admitted he will "break one or two hearts" when he names his team for next week's Carling Cup Final clash with Manchester United.
WIGAN manager Paul Jewell admitted he will "break one or two hearts" when he names his team for next week's Carling Cup Final clash with Manchester United.
I thought that if I could close one more deal, break one more record, trespass one more line, maybe I wouldn't walk around feeling like my colors were spilling out with no border to define them.