break the news

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break the news

To reveal information, often that which is bad or upsetting. Who is going to break the news of her husband's accident? Your mother is going to be furious if she learns of our engagement from someone else—you have to break the news to her first!
See also: break, news
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

break the news (to someone)

to tell someone some important news, usually bad news. The doctor had to break the news to Jane about her husband's cancer. I hope that the doctor broke the news gently.
See also: break, news
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

break the news

Make something known, as in We suspected that she was pregnant but waited for her to break the news to her in-laws. This term, in slightly different form ( break a matter or break a business), dates from the early 1500s. Another variant is the 20th-century journalistic phrase, break a story, meaning "to reveal a news item or make it available for publication."
See also: break, news
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 the news

COMMON If you break the news, you tell someone about something, especially something bad. I went up to Santa Monica to break the news to her that I'd left my job.
See also: break, news
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

break the ˈnews (to somebody)

be the first to tell somebody some bad news: I’m sorry to be the one to break the news.
See also: break, news
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in classic literature ?
"Have you broken the news to your family?" asked Priscilla, feeding the Sarah-cat bits from her lunchbasket.
Bishop Vincent Logan, who opened yesterday's ceremony, had broken the news of the tragedy to Helen Dawson, the mother of three of the victims, while on a pilgrimage to Lourdes.