Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word


 - definitions and thesaurus

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun [countable] break pronunciation in American English /breɪk/ 
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. b.
      a short vacation

      a weekend break for two in Boston

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

      the Easter/Christmas break

  2. 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  clean1
  3. 4
    a place where something is broken

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

    Synonyms and related words for this sense of break
  4. 5
    a space in something such as a line of traffic

    He waited for ages for a break in the traffic.

  5. 6
    [usually singular] a sudden lack of control in someone's voice that shows they are upset
    Synonyms and related words for this sense of break
  6. 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.



web content which is specifically intended to make Facebook users click the 'Like' button associated with it

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


the possibility of Greece leaving the Eurozone …

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog