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break down

verb

Definition of break down

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a :  to cause to fall or collapse by breaking or shattering b :  to make ineffective <break down legal barriers>

  3. 2 a :  to divide into parts or categories b :  to separate (as a chemical compound) into simpler substances :  decompose c :  to take apart especially for storage or shipment and for later reassembling

  4. intransitive verb
  5. 1 a :  to stop functioning because of breakage or wear b :  to become inoperative or ineffective :  fail <negotiations broke down> c :  to fail in strength or vitality <her health broke down> d :  to succumb to mental or emotional stress <broke down and cried> e :  to lose one's resolve :  give in <finally broke down and bought a computer>

  6. 2 of horses :  to severely injure the supporting ligament or bones of the fetlock joint

  7. 3 a :  to be susceptible to or undergo analysis or subdivision <the statistics break down like this> b :  to undergo decomposition



Examples of break down in a sentence

  1. <when presented with the pile of files, the first thing he did was to break them down by month, order within the month, and region>

  2. <the enamel of a human tooth will begin to break down when exposed to sugar for too long>



14th Century

First Known Use of break down

14th century

Synonym Discussion of break down

analyze, dissect, break down mean to divide a complex whole into its parts or elements. analyze suggests separating or distinguishing the component parts of something (as a substance, a process, a situation) so as to discover its true nature or inner relationships <analyzed the collected data>. dissect suggests a searching analysis by laying bare parts or pieces for individual scrutiny <commentators dissected every word of the speech>. break down implies a reducing to simpler parts or divisions <break down the budget>.

Medical Dictionary

break down

play
verb \(ˈ)brāk-ˈdau̇n\

Medical Definition of break down

  1. :  to separate (as a chemical compound) into simpler substances :  decompose

  2. 1

  3. intransitive verb

  4. a:  to stop functioning because of breakage or wearb:  to fail in strength or vitalityc:  to succumb to mental or emotional stress

  5. 2of horses :  to severely injure the supporting ligament or bones of the fetlock joint

  6. 3:  to undergo decomposition





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