break off

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Related to broke off: break off, broke out

break off

1. To physically separate from something. Those bricks in the yard must have broken off the chimney. The antenna just broke off in my hand as I was trying to extend it from the radio.
2. To cause something to physically separate from something else. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can used between "break" and "off." He broke off a piece of the cookie and handed it to me. The contractor must have broken these bricks off the chimney while he was fixing the roof.
3. To fail or cease abruptly. Did you hear that negotiations have broken off again?
4. To end a relationship, typically a romantic one. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "break" and "off." I'm so sad to hear that Mara broke things off with John—I thought those two would be together forever.
See also: break, off
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

break something off (of) something

 and break something off
to fracture or dislodge a piece off something. (Of is usually retained before pronouns.) He broke a piece of the decorative stone off the side of the church. He didn't mean to break off anything. This fragment was broken off of that.
See also: break, off

break something off

 
1. to end a relationship abruptly. I knew she was getting ready to break it off, but Tom didn't. After a few long and bitter arguments, they broke off their relationship.
2. Go to break something off (of) something.
See also: break, off

break off (with someone)

 and break with someone
to end communication with someone; to break up (with someone); to end a relationship with someone, especially a romantic relationship, or to create a break between adult members of a family. Terri has broken off with Sam. We thought she would break with him pretty soon.
See also: break, off

break off

(from something) [for a piece of something] to become separated from the whole. This broke off from the lamp. What shall I do with it? This piece broke off.
See also: break, off
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

break off

1. Stop abruptly, as in The trade talks broke off yesterday. [First half of 1300s]
2. Separate, sever a connection, as in The baby broke off the tops of all the flowers, or The new sect has broken off from the established church. [First half of 1500s]
3. End a relationship or friendship, as in Mary broke off her engagement to Rob. [Mid-1600s]
See also: break, off
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.

break off

v.
1. To separate a piece of something from some whole, especially by force: We broke the icicles off the gutters of the house. I broke off a piece of chocolate and gave it to my friend. The truck hit my rearview mirror and broke it off.
2. To become separated from some whole: A large piece of ice broke off the iceberg and crashed into the water. I dropped my coffee mug and the handle broke off.
3. To stop or end suddenly. Especially used of communication: He began the first line of his speech and then mysteriously broke off. Unfortunately, the peace talks between the countries broke off.
4. To end some relationship: Although I am angry, I do not want to break off my long relationship with you. The countries broke off all diplomatic ties and went to war.
See also: break, off
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.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Only a forceful thrust--which severed the stone's tip as it penetrated the animal's flesh and broke off its base once the point poked through the bone--could have wedged the weapon into that position, the team holds.
When the ice (http://www.ibtimes.com/massive-iceberg-breaks-antarctica-delaware-sized-larsen-c-iceberg-breaks-2564705) broke off from Larsen C, after a crack grew for months and kept scientists in suspense about when it would finally separate, it threatened the rest of the ice shelf's stability, putting it at a greater risk of collapsing.
Wahlberg is said to have recently broke off his engagement because he realised marriage would be a mistake.
The iceberg, which is 2,200 square miles and 1,100 feet thick, broke off (http://www.ibtimes.com/massive-iceberg-breaks-antarctica-delaware-sized-larsen-c-iceberg-breaks-2564705) sometime between Monday and Wednesday of last week .
"I don't know even know why I broke off the engagement, it was just one of those strange things that war did to you.
Police said the attack was so frenzied part of the blade had broken off broke off.
The Argentine Precordillera broke off from Laurentia when an oceanic ridge to the east of the strip shifted westward, the researchers report.
It was reported a few months ago that a (http://www.ibtimes.com/iceberg-antarctica-size-delaware-poised-break-ocean-2520331) crack in the Larsen C ice shelf was growing, and only needed to stretch another dozen miles before the chunk broke off. Scientists did not link the iceberg's coming independence from the ice shelf to climate change, as it can be a natural event that air temperatures do not affect.
The dead man had suffered head injuries and seems to have been struck by a lump of rock which broke off a 20-foot crag.
Most of the icebergs broke off the Laurentide ice sheet, a huge glacier in Canada that advanced through the Hudson Strait.
Summary: A huge glacier has broke off and plunged into a lake in Peru, triggering a 23-metre tsunami.
4, its four hind legs broke off and the robot sat down, unharmed but immobile, on its rear end.
As such, it could have served as a reservoir for the enstatite meteorites, which at some point broke off its surface, accounting for their longer exposure in space.
The shortened DNA piece then serves as a template for DNA replication, and all subsequent copies of the strand will lack any sequences lost when the loop broke off.
The 2,500 sq km (965 sq mile) iceberg broke off earlier this month from the Mertz Glacier's 160 km (100 miles) "floating tongue" of ice that sticks out into the Southern Ocean.