brake - definition and synonyms

noun [countable] 

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  1. 1
    [usually plural] the equipment in a car, bicycle, or other vehicle that you use for slowing down or stopping

    The brakes failed and the car crashed into a tree.

    We heard a screech of brakes as Jill’s car pulled up.

    slam on/hit the brakes (=stop suddenly):

    I saw the child run out, so I slammed on the brakes.

    brakes squealing/screeching (=making a loud noise):

    I heard the brakes squealing, then a loud crash.

  2. 2
    [usually singular] an action or a situation that prevents something from developing or making progress
    put a brake/the brakes on something:

    The high level of debt put a brake on economic recovery.

    act as a brake on something:

    Inevitably, insufficient funding acts as a brake on medical research.