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break off

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phrasal verb
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present tense
I/you/we/theybreak off
he/she/itbreaks off
present participlebreaking off
past tensebroke off
past participlebroken off
  1. 1
    [intransitive/transitive] to stop doing something, especially speaking

    Linda broke off, realizing that she was wrong.

    People would break off their conversations when she came into the room.

  2. 2
    [transitive] to end a relationship or a discussion
    break off an engagement (=end an agreement to get married):

    Did you know they've broken off their engagement?

    break it off (=to end a romantic relationship):

    I've decided to break it off with her.

    break off relations/contact:

    The two countries have broken off diplomatic relations.

  3. 3
    [transitive] if you break a piece off something, you remove it from the main part

    Each child broke off a piece of bread.

    1. a.
      [intransitive] if a part of something breaks off, it becomes separated from the main part

      Part of the chimney broke off and fell to the ground.

See also main entry: break

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