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break - definition and synonyms

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noun [countable]     break pronunciation in American English
Word Forms
  1. 1
    a short period of time when you stop what you are doing so that you can eat or rest

    Doctors and nurses worked 18 hours without a break.

    break from:

    A short nap can provide a much needed break from daily stress.

    have/take a break:

    We decided to take a short break.

    a lunch/coffee etc. break:

    They usually go shopping during their lunch break.

    1. a.
      [usually singular] a rest from the work or job that you usually do

      I could do with a break (=I need one).

      break from:

      The art class is the only time I can get a break from the kids.

      have/take a break (from):

      I decided to take a break from college and do some traveling.

    2. c.
      [usually singular] British a period of time when most people do not go to work

      the Easter/Christmas break

  2. 2
    a pause between television or radio programs, especially when advertisements are broadcast

    We’ll be back after the break.

  3. 3
    a time at which one thing ends completely and a new thing begins

    Clinton represented a decisive break after 12 years of Republican dominance.

    break with:

    a break with the past

    make the break (=finally leave a job, relationship, etc.):

    a story about a woman who makes the break from an abusive relationship

    See also clean
  4. 4
    a place where something is broken

    There was a small break at the corner of the frame.

  5. 5
    a space in something such as a line of traffic

    He waited for ages for a break in the traffic.

  6. 6
    [usually singular] a sudden lack of control in someone’s voice that shows they are upset
  7. 7
    in tennis, a game that someone wins when their opponent is serving
    Synonyms and related words
  8. 8
    [usually singular] an opportunity that helps you to be successful

    a lucky break

    Kiefer’s big break came with the movie Stand By Me.

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