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break down - definition and synonyms

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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.

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phrasal verb
Word Forms
present tense
I/you/we/theybreak down
he/she/itbreaks down
present participlebreaking down
past tensebroke down
past participlebroken down
  1. 2
    [transitive] to divide something such as a total amount into separate parts

    The amount doesn’t seem quite so bad when you break it down into monthly payments.

    1. a.
      [intransitive/transitive] if a substance breaks down or is broken down into parts, it separates into the parts that it is made up of
  2. 4
    [intransitive] to start crying, especially in public

    People broke down and wept when they heard the news.

  3. 5
    [transitive] to hit something such as a door or wall very hard so that it falls down

    Firefighters had to break down the door to get into the flat.

    Synonyms and related words
  4. 6
    [transitive] to remove a difficulty that prevents something from happening

    The aim of the agreement is to break down barriers to trade.

See also main entry: break
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a lifestyle focussing on simple pleasures such as comfort and cosiness in the home, and spending time with friends and family

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a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

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