break ground

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break ground

To start a construction project. The phrase refers to the first excavation of the site, often done with a ceremonial shovel. They broke ground on the new corporate headquarters today, but it will be years before we can actually move into it.
See also: break, ground

break ground (for something)

to start digging the foundation for a building. The president of the company came to break ground for the new building. This was the third building this year for which this company has broken ground. When do they expect to break ground at the new site?
See also: break, ground

break ground

Also, break new ground.
1. Begin digging into the earth for new construction of some kind. For example, When will they break ground for the town hall? This usage alludes to breaking up the land with a plow. [Early 1700s]
2. Take the first steps for a new venture; advance beyond previous achievements. For example, Jeff is breaking new ground in intellectual property law. [Early 1700s]
See also: break, ground

break ground

AMERICAN
1. If someone breaks ground on a new building, they start building it and if a new building breaks ground, it starts to be built. Simpson and Hurt hope to break ground on a planned outdoor theater next August. The first co-housing project in America will break ground soon.
2. If someone breaks ground in a particular activity or area of study, they do something that is different and if something breaks ground, it is different from what came before. Perhaps I am lucky to have been in there at the start, when this music was breaking ground for the first time. We are breaking ground in the law here and have to proceed cautiously.
See also: break, ground

break ground

1. To begin a new construction project.
2. To advance beyond previous achievements.
See also: break, ground

break ground, to

To begin a new project; to be innovative. The term dates from the sixteenth century, when it meant literally to break up land with a plow, and began to be used figuratively by the late seventeenth century, by the poet John Dryden and others. In 1830, when De Quincey described Jeremy Bentham as “one of those who first broke ground as a pioneer . . . in Natural Philosophy,” the expression was well on its way to clichédom.
See also: break
References in periodicals archive ?
Developers also broke ground on several major developments during the year.
* This year, the teacher retirement fund declined to enforce Pat Riley Sr.'s personal guarantee for an $11.5 million debt, preferring to take over a couple of nursing homes, a retirement complex that was barely breaking even and a highly leveraged office building, and it broke ground on an upscale retirement complex in west Little Rock that few teachers will actually be able to afford.
* Grede Foundries, Inc.'s Iron Mountain Plant, Kingsford, Michigan, broke ground on a $2.1 million, 14,000 sq ft addition to its employee facilities.
Eastman Chemical also broke ground for an Eastapak PET polyester plant in Zarate, Argentina.
Caption: The Bruaser Group broke ground for their 10-story, 41-unit, luxury condominium at 100 West 18th Street in Cheslea.
Du Pont broke ground recently on a $100 million facility in Pulau Sakra an island off the southern coast of Singapore, to meet the growing demand for Zytel nylon 6,6 resin in the Asia Pacific region.
and Banana Kelly, joined by New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Shaun Donovan and New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) President Emily Youssouf, broke ground on a project to develop 58 low-income rental apartments and 5,200 square feet of ground floor commercial space at 830 Fox Street in the Longwood neighborhood of the South Bronx.
Goodyear broke ground for the project early in April, and should complete things by this summer.
To help ease the housing crunch, Hofstra broke ground in September on a $23 million residential building for graduate students in the School of Law.
BPG and Bridge Development Partners assembled 11 parcels and broke ground on the speculative development of Wood Hill Crossings late in 2002.