Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


This was Anaxibius, to whom the break-up of the army was a blessing.

At length the break-up came, much as it always comes in that country.

I sent you, and that they may not savour of that break-up which is threatening me.

"Your break-up is fairly complete," he said at last, coldly.

There are deeper reasons for urging a break-up of herd-politics.

It was all part of our twentieth century break-up of tradition.

What they're asking for is the break-up of your Union, and that you yourself should go.

Only the break-up of the ice prevented the capture of the place.

It was when they were but three miles from Dawson that the break-up came.

She was with us; and with the Harcourts, in London; and, since the break-up there, she was at Hadley.


Old English brecan "to break, shatter, burst; injure, violate, destroy, curtail; break into, rush into; burst forth, spring out; subdue, tame" (class IV strong verb; past tense bræc, past participle brocen), from Proto-Germanic *brekan (cf. Old Frisian breka, Dutch breken, Old High German brehhan, German brechen, Gothic brikan), from PIE root *bhreg- "to break" (see fraction). Most modern senses were in Old English. In reference to the heart from early 13c. Meaning "to disclose" is from early 13c.

Break bread "share food" (with) is from late 14c. Break the ice is c.1600, in reference to the "coldness" of encounters of strangers. Break wind first attested 1550s. To break (something) out (1890s) probably is an image from dock work, of freeing cargo before unloading it. Ironic theatrical good luck formula break a leg has parallels in German Hals- und Beinbruch "break your neck and leg," and Italian in bocca al lupo. Evidence of a highly superstitious craft (cf. Macbeth).


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.