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



    BrE BrE//ˈbreɪkdaʊn//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈbreɪkdaʊn//
    How machines work
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  1. 1[countable] an occasion when a vehicle or machine stops working a breakdown on the motorway a breakdown recovery service See related entries: How machines work
  2. 2[countable, uncountable] a failure of a relationship, discussion or system the breakdown of a marriage marriage breakdown a breakdown in communications The breakdown of the negotiations was not unexpected. the breakdown of law and order
  3. 3[countable, usually singular] detailed information that you get by studying a set of figures First, let's look at a breakdown of the costs.
  4. 4[uncountable] (specialist) the breaking of a substance into the parts of which it is made the breakdown of proteins in the digestive system
  5. 5[countable] = nervous breakdown She's still recovering from her breakdown.
  6. Extra examples Most breakdown services give priority to women travelling alone. Please provide us with a breakdown of expenditure by department. The national breakdown organizations are on hand to help motorists 24 hours a day. The only ground for divorce is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. The stress of her job had brought her to the brink of a nervous breakdown. a breakdown in negotiations A growing proportion of children are affected by family breakdown. Marital breakdown can be followed by debt problems. The breakdown of negotiations was not expected. There has obviously been a breakdown in communications between the two sides. There seems to be a complete breakdown in law and order.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: breakdown