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

EXAMPLES FROM THE WEB FOR BREAKING DOWN

To be denied a fox-chace, for breaking down a fence upon my own grounds?

The scene had been too much for her, and she was on the verge of breaking down.

The fierce little man was, for the moment, close to breaking down.

My mother was breaking down and Father Dan followed up his advantage.

His sulkiness was breaking down and he was showing some agitation.

She won't marry him while he drinks and he keeps swearin' off and then breaking down.

"Ey, it's true," said the blacksmith, breaking down at length.

The long-strained rapture of faith and confidence was breaking down.

His hope was slipping away; his great faith was breaking down.

She felt that only flight could save her from breaking down altogether.

WORD ORIGIN

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).

MORE RELATED WORDS FOR BREAKING DOWN

decaying

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