To cause to separate into pieces suddenly or violently; smash. To divide into pieces, as by bending or cutting: break crackers for a baby. To separate into components or parts: broke the work into discrete tasks. To snap off or detach: broke a twig from the tree. To fracture a bone of: I broke my leg. To fracture (a bone): I broke my femur. To crack without separating into pieces. To destroy the completeness of (a group of related items): broke the set of books by giving some away. To exchange for smaller monetary units: break a dollar. To vary or disrupt the uniformity or continuity of: a plain that was broken by low hills; caught the ball without breaking stride. Electricity To render (a circuit) inoperative by disruption; open. To force or make a way through; puncture or penetrate: The blade barely broke the skin. To part or pierce the surface of: a dolphin breaking water. To produce (a sweat) copiously on the skin, as from exercise. To force one's way out of; escape from: break jail. To make or bring about by cutting or forcing: break a trail through the woods. To find an opening or flaw in: They couldn't break my alibi. To find the solution or key to; uncover the basic elements and arrangement of: break a code; break a spy ring. To make known, as news: break a story. To surpass or outdo: broke the league's home-run record. To overcome or put an end to, especially by force or strong opposition: break a deadlock in negotiations; break a strike. Sports To win a game on (an opponent's service), as in tennis. To lessen the force or effect of: break a fall. To render useless or inoperative: We accidentally broke the radio. To weaken or destroy, as in spirit or health; overwhelm with adversity: "For a hero loves the world till it breaks him\u201d ( William Butler Yeats).