Definition of break noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

    short stop/pause
  1. 1  [countable] a short period of time when you stop what you are doing and rest, eat, etc. a coffee/lunch/tea break Let's take a break. a break for lunch She worked all day without a break. see also comfort break Synonymsrestbreak respite time out breathing spaceThese are all words for a short period of time spent relaxing.rest a period of relaxing, sleeping or doing nothing after a period of activity:We stopped for a well-earned rest.break a short period of time when you stop what you are doing and rest or eat:Let’s take a break. In British English break is a period of time between lessons at school. The North American English word is recess.respite a short break from something difficult or unpleasant:The drug brought a brief respite from the pain.time out (informal, especially North American English) time for resting or relaxing away from your usual work or studies:Take time out to relax by the pool.breathing space a short rest in the middle of a period of mental or physical effort:This delay gives the party a breathing space in which to sort out its policies.Patterns (a) rest/​break/​respite/​time out from something to have/​take (a) rest/​break/​time out to give somebody (a) rest/​break/​respite/​breathing space See related entries: Office life
  2. 2(also break time) (both British English) (North American English recess) [uncountable] a period of time between lessons at school Come and see me at break. See related entries: School life
  3. 3  [countable] a pause or period of time when something stops before starting again a break in my daily routine She wanted to take a career break in order to have children.
  4. 4  [countable] a pause for advertisements in the middle of a television or radio programme More news after the break. see also commercial break See related entries: Radio broadcasting, TV shows
  5. holiday/vacation
  6. 5  [countable] a short holiday/vacation We had a weekend break in New York. a well-earned break Wordfinderbreak, camp, cruise, holiday, honeymoon, package tour, self-catering, tourist, travel, visa See related entries: Types of holiday/vacation
  7. change in situation
  8. 6[singular] the moment when a situation or a relationship that has existed for a time changes, ends or is interrupted break (with somebody/something) He needed to make a complete break with the past. a break with tradition/convention (= a change from what is accepted, in something such as art, behaviour, etc.) break (in something) a break in the weather (= a change from one type of weather to a different one) a break in diplomatic relations
  9. opening/space
  10. 7[countable] break (in something) a space or an opening between two or more things We could see the moon through a break in the clouds. Wait for a break in the traffic before crossing the road.
  11. opportunity
  12. 8[countable] (informal) an opportunity to do something, usually to get something that you want or to achieve success I got my lucky break when I won a ‘Young Journalist of the Year’ competition. We've had a few bad breaks (= pieces of bad luck) along the way. If you just give me a break, you won’t regret it.
  13. of bone
  14. 9[countable] a place where something, especially a bone in your body, has broken The X-ray showed there was no break in his leg. See related entries: Injuries
  15. in tennis
  16. 10(also break of serve) [countable] a win in a game in which your opponent is serving It was her second break in the set. break point (= a situation in which, if you win the next point, you win the game) See related entries: Tennis
  17. in billiards/snooker
  18. 11[countable] a series of successful shots by one player; the number of points scored in a series of successful shots He's put together a magnificent break. a 147 break (= the highest possible break in snooker) The champion began with breaks of 74 and 58. See related entries: Pool and snooker
  19. Word OriginOld English brecan (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch breken and German brechen, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin frangere ‘to break’.Extra examples He’s the director who gave her her first big break. His new work makes a break with the past. I always knew I would get my lucky break one day. I had a word with John during the break. I wanted to leave but was nervous about making the break. I won a weekend break in Paris. I’ll see you at break. We have a 15-minute break in the morning. We worked all day without a break. We’ll take a break now and resume in an hour. a break from caring for the children a break from tradition a break in the weather A lot of students go to Florida for Spring Break. Choose from our range of city breaks. Everyone needs a break, a change from day-to-day routine. Have you got any plans for the Easter break? I need a break from mental activity. I need a break in my daily routine. I’d like to take her on a mini—break. It’s a great city for a weekend break. It’s often difficult for talented newcomers to get the break they deserve. Let’s take a break. Spend the weekend at a spa for a really relaxing break. The prize is a three-night break in Paris. The team have been taking a break in Spain. The track bends left through a break in the hedge. a coffee/​lunch/​tea break a commercial breakIdioms (literary) the moment in the early hours of the morning when it begins to get light
    1. 1a complete separation from a person, an organization, a way of life, etc. She wanted to make a clean break with the past.
    2. 2a break in a bone in one place
    (informal) to give somebody a chance; to not judge somebody too severely Give the lad a break—it's only his second day on the job. (informal) used when somebody wants somebody else to stop doing or saying something that is annoying, or to stop saying something that is not true
    make a break for something/for it
    jump to other results
    to run towards something in order to try and escape He suddenly leapt up and made a break for the door. They decided to make a break for it (= to try and escape) that night.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: break