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 periodicals archive ?
Although the data suggested that caffeine increased breaking points overall, this effect was neither statistically significant nor consistent across all rats.
However, unlike our study, they found that caffeine convincingly increased breaking points at those doses.
Prior to the current study, breaking points under PD schedules were shown to be sensitive to both deprivation and reinforcer quality (Bailey et al.
The increase in subcriteria durations produced by both caffeine and food deprivation resulted in lost effort and possibly reduced breaking points. 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 chose to examine naloxone and caffeine because we anticipated that they might elicit opposite effects on breaking points and because they were readily available to us.
1 Breaking points (left yaxis) and lever presses pa reinforcer (right y-axis) at all doses of naloxone for all rats.
2 Mean breaking points (top panel) and mean lever presses per reinforcer (bottom panel) across rats at each dose expressed as a percentage of saline control.
3 Breaking points (left y-axis) and lever presses per reinforcer (right y-axis) at all doses of caffeine and during food deprivation probes for all rats.
The last reinforcer requirement satisfied dining the session is known as the breaking point and may be used to assess how much behavior an organism will allocate for a given reinforcer under current motivational conditions.