breakdown

noun
break·​down | \ ˈbrāk-ˌdau̇n How to pronounce breakdown (audio) \

Definition of breakdown

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the action or result of breaking down: such as
a : a failure to function preventing a breakdown of the health-care system
b : failure to progress or have effect : disintegration a breakdown of negotiations
c medicine : a complete loss of physical, mental, or emotional vitality : a physical, mental, or nervous collapse
d : the process of decomposing the breakdown of water into hydrogen and oxygen cellular breakdown
e : division into categories a statistical breakdown of data : classification also : an account analyzed into categories a budget breakdown
2 : a fast shuffling dance also : music for such a dance

break down

verb
broke down; broken down; breaking down; breaks down

Definition of break down (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to cause to fall or collapse by breaking or shattering
b : to make ineffective break down legal barriers
2a : to divide into parts or categories
b : to separate (something, such as a chemical compound) into simpler substances : decompose
c : to take apart especially for storage or shipment and for later reassembling

intransitive verb

1a : 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
2 of horses : to severely injure the supporting ligament or bones of the fetlock joint
3a : to be susceptible to or undergo analysis or subdivision the statistics break down like this
b : to undergo decomposition

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Choose the Right Synonym for breakdown

Verb

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 (such 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

Examples of breakdown in a Sentence

Noun

The factory has had frequent equipment breakdowns. Both sides are to blame for the breakdown in communication. The irretrievable breakdown of a marriage can be grounds for divorce. trying to prevent a breakdown of the health-care system trying to prevent breakdown of the health-care system He suffered a breakdown after his wife died.

Verb

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 the enamel of a human tooth will begin to break down when exposed to sugar for too long
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The hospital would not provide a breakdown of how these fees are calculated. Jenny Gold, Vox, "A baby was treated with a nap and a bottle of formula. His parents received an $18,000 bill.," 20 July 2018 The hospital would not provide a breakdown of how these fees are calculated. Jenny Gold, Kaiser Health News And Sarah Kliff, Washington Post, "A Baby Was Treated With A Nap And A Bottle Of Formula. The Bill Was $18,000.," 2 July 2018 At a reporter’s request, Marquette provided a breakdown of their polling numbers to see how many people would divide their support for governor and U.S. senator if the election were held today. Craig Gilbert, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A new poll shows how a small group of ticket-splitters could help re-elect both Walker and Baldwin," 25 June 2018 City officials provided a breakdown indicating more than 1,500 units for chronically homeless people had been built, including 655 downtown. Emily Alpert Reyes, latimes.com, "Garcetti says L.A. can resume disputed ban on overnight sidewalk sleeping," 22 June 2018 The Air Force release did not provide a breakdown of the contract. Mark Skoneki, OrlandoSentinel.com, "SpaceX wins $130 million Air Force contract," 21 June 2018 For much of 2017, the concern was that Pandora wasn’t communicating adequately with the market, and not providing a good enough breakdown of specific segments. Christian Wienberg, Bloomberg.com, "The Worst Day Since 2011 Leaves Pandora A/S Investors in Shock," 16 May 2018 The deal called for Mr. Wigdor, along with a mediator, to provide a breakdown of how the money will be distributed to each plaintiff. Emily Steel, New York Times, "Fox Settles Discrimination Lawsuits for Roughly $10 Million," 15 May 2018 Chipotle, which specializes in build-your-own burritos, tacos and salad bowls, provides a breakdown by ingredient. NBC News, "Restaurant menu label rules go into effect," 7 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But when the pay gap is broken down by a woman’s race, women of color’s wages fall far below that. Kaylen Ralph, Teen Vogue, "Equal Pay Day 2019: Celebs Speak Out Against the Gender Pay Gap, In Support of Policy Protections," 2 Apr. 2019 Both actresses broke down in tears on the streets of New York for the movie, which tells the real-life story of a group of strippers who plan to steal thousands of dollars from their Wall Street clients. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu Filmed Some Intense Crying Scenes for 'Hustlers'," 2 Apr. 2019 But when researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics broke down that 2017 data by state and ethnicity, they were surprised by the variation. Brianna Abbott, WSJ, "At 30-Year Low, U.S. Birth Rate Shows Striking Differences Between States," 10 Jan. 2019 But when a play breaks down or the defense takes away his first option, that’s when Cousins deficiencies as an athlete are exposed. Steven Ruiz, For The Win, "Every NFL starting quarterback's biggest weakness," 27 June 2018 When his lawnmower broke down, the pet clinic helped secure him a replacement. Joe Robertson And Robert A. Cronkleton, kansascity, "Jeremiah and Demonte, 'just kids,' mourned as victims of gun violence," 27 June 2018 The Red Line shutdown Tuesday morning was the subway version of the time when the tow truck breaks down while carting your disabled car. Adam Vaccaro, BostonGlobe.com, "A maintenance vehicle, of all things, shut down the Red Line on Tuesday," 20 June 2018 Worse, after all of those nights supporting your weary head, traditional pillows start to break down, leaving them lumpy, flat and uncomfortable. Lauren Hubbard, ELLE Decor, "A Beginner's Guide to Making Your Home More Sustainable," 1 Apr. 2019 Between her podcast, newsletter, film projects, and work with 3M, Couric found time to break down the tricks to her trade. Glamour, "The Products That Give Katie Couric Instant On-Air Hair," 28 Mar. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'breakdown.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of breakdown

Noun

1827, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

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Statistics for breakdown

Last Updated

13 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for breakdown

The first known use of breakdown was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for breakdown

breakdown

noun

English Language Learners Definition of breakdown

: a failure of a machine to function : an occurrence in which a machine (such as a car) stops working
: the failure of a relationship or of an effort to discuss something
: a failure that prevents a system from working properly

breakdown

noun
break·​down | \ ˈbrāk-ˌdau̇n How to pronounce breakdown (audio) \

Kids Definition of breakdown

1 : a failure to function properly
2 : a sudden failure of mental or physical health

breakdown

noun
break·​down | \ ˈbrāk-ˌdau̇n How to pronounce breakdown (audio) \

Medical Definition of breakdown

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: the action or result of breaking down: as
a : a failure to function
b : a physical, mental, or nervous collapse
c : the process of decomposing breakdown of food during digestion

breakdown

adjective

Medical Definition of breakdown (Entry 2 of 3)

: obtained or resulting from disintegration or decomposition of a substance a breakdown product of purine

break down

transitive verb
\ (ˈ)brāk-ˈdau̇n How to pronounce break down (audio) \

Medical Definition of break down (Entry 3 of 3)

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

intransitive verb

1a : to stop functioning because of breakage or wear
b : to fail in strength or vitality
c : to succumb to mental or emotional stress
2 of horses : to severely injure the supporting ligament or bones of the fetlock joint
3 : to undergo decomposition

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Comments on breakdown

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