break - definition and synonyms


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  1. 1
    [countable] 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/tea/coffee etc break:

    They usually went shopping in their lunch break.

    1. a.
      [countable] [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 travelling.

    2. b.
      [countable] a short holiday

      a weekend break for two in Florence

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

      the Easter/Christmas break

    4. d.
      [uncountable] British a period of time between lessons when students and teachers can eat, rest, or play. The American word is recess

      They always play together during break.

  2. 2
    [countable] a pause between television or radio programmes, especially when advertisements are broadcast

    We’ll be back after the break.

    1. a.
      [singular] British informal a pause in a sports match

      the half-time break

  3. 3
    [countable] a time at which one thing ends completely and a new thing begins
    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
  4. 4
    [countable] a space in something such as a line of traffic

    He waited for ages for a break in the traffic.

  5. 5
    [countable] a place where something is broken

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

  6. 6
    [countable] [usually singular] an opportunity that helps you to be successful

    a lucky break

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

  7. 7
    [countable] [usually singular] a sudden lack of control in someone’s voice that shows they are upset
  8. 8
    [countable] in tennis, a game that someone wins when their opponent is serving
     Synonyms and related words
  9. 9
    [countable] in snooker or billiards, a period of time when a player continues to hit the ball successfully