• break smth down (into) ‘to divide something into parts in order to analyze it or make it easier to do’

Each section is broken down into several units.

  • break into (a place) – ‘to get into a place illegally by force’

He had his car broken into last week.

  • break smth off– 1. ‘to break a piece from something using force’,

I broke off a piece of chocolate.

2. ‘​to end something suddenly’ (e.g. relationships)

They’ve broken off their diplomatic relationships.

  • break through smth- ‘​to make a way through something using force’, e.g. a barrier

The demonstrators broke through the police cordon.

  • break out of (a place) – ‘to escape from somewhere’

The prisoners broke out of the jail.


  • break away – ‘to leave something’ (e.g. a political party)

A few members of the community broke away.

(+ break away from smb – ​to escape suddenly from smb)

  • break down – 1. ‘to stop working’ (referring to a machine or vehicle),

The elevator broke down, so I had to climb the stairs to the 10th floor.

2. ‘to become very upset’ (referring to a person), to lose control of your feelings and start crying

She broke down when she heard the news.

  • break in – 1. ‘interrupt a conversation’ (+ break in on smb’s conversation/chat).

Please, stop breaking in while I’m speaking.

He wanted to break in on the conversation but thought to himself it would be bad manners.

2. ‘to get into a place illegally by force’ (=break into a place)

The robbers broke in at night.

  • break off – ‘to suddenly stop speaking or doing something’

She suddenly broke off when John came in.

  • break out – ‘to begin’ (about something dangerous or unpleasant, e.g. a war, epidemic, a fight, a fire)

A fight was about to break out.

  • break through – ‘to make new and important discoveries’

Doctors are beginning to break through in developing a vaccine.

  • break up – 1. when a person who is talking on a mobile phone breaks up, you can no longer hear them clearly because the signal has been interrupted

Can you repeat it? You’re breaking up.

2. ‘to finish a romantic relationship with someone’ (+ with smb = break with)

They broke up after a row.