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 In mammals, aging is hallmarked by several molecular changes, including the breakdown of DNA, a shortage of stem cells and malfunctioning proteins. Amanda Kowalczyk, The Conversation, "From marmots to mole-rats to marmosets – studying many genes in many animals is key to understanding how humans can live longer," 1 July 2020 Navarro — in a Monday interview with Fox News — said that China's complacency in reporting the spread of the coronavirus early on led to the breakdown of political and economic channels with the United States. Laura He, CNN, "White House adviser's comments on China send markets on a roller coaster," 23 June 2020 Here’s a county-by-county breakdown of confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases per capita in Oregon. oregonlive, "Oregon’s coronavirus hot spots: Where does your county fall?," 20 June 2020 The Whiskey Rebellion was in fact fomented by a breakdown of the American currency. Zachary D. Carter, WSJ, "Five Best: Zachary D. Carter on Financial Crises," 19 June 2020 Inter-Korean relations have been strained since the breakdown of a second summit between Kim and Trump in Vietnam in early 2019. Anchorage Daily News, "North Korea blows up liaison office it operated with South Korea, sharply escalating tensions," 16 June 2020 Read on for a thorough breakdown of each and every testing category. Jacob Krol, CNN Underscored, "The best true wireless earbuds of 2020," 16 June 2020 Inter-Korean relations began strained since the breakdown of a second summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump in Vietnam in early 2019. Time, "North Korea Blows Up Liaison Office as It Steps Up Tensions With South," 16 June 2020 Inter-Korean relations have been strained since the breakdown of a second summit between Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump in Vietnam in early 2019. Kim Tong-hyung And Hyung-jin Kim, The Christian Science Monitor, "Why did North Korea just blow up inter-Korea liaison office?," 16 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Equally unprecedented is the opportunity that Covid-19 vaccine development presents to break down barriers to the engagement of Black and Latinx individuals in clinical trials research. Kathryn Stephenson, STAT, "Covid-19 vaccine research must involve Black and Latinx participants. Here are 4 ways to make that happen," 26 June 2020 The issue is also one that doesn’t break down neatly along ideological lines. Will Weissert, Anchorage Daily News, "Mail-in ballots thrust Postal Service into presidential race," 25 June 2020 The numbers do vary and are hard to break down between those linked to illegals and those spread in communities that are opening. Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, "Border agents stopping illegal immigrants exposed to COVID-19, 'several hundred' infected," 25 June 2020 Coke’s pretty art might look simple, but the pieces require her to conduct rigorous research in order to break down facets of race and privilege into easy-to-digest illustrations. Carly Mallenbaum, USA Today, "Art activism: Stories behind murals, street paintings and portraits created in protest," 22 June 2020 Mr Guterres has sought to break down silos and improve co-ordination. The Economist, "Reform The UN’s structures built in 1945 are not fit for 2020, let alone beyond it," 20 June 2020 Spiders have been known to break down their webs during eclipses, and bats have flown across the sky during the day. Candice Wang, Popular Science, "You may be able to spot a ‘ring of fire’ eclipse this weekend," 19 June 2020 In the absence of that socialization, our brains begin to break down, affecting both our mental health and our behavior. Rebecca Renner, National Geographic, "How to beat loneliness during a pandemic? LGBTQ elders lend their wisdom," 17 June 2020 Oregon Ducks reporter Kevin Wade joined me to break down Oregon’s chances with 11 of their top remaining targets. oregonlive, "Recruiting: Oregon Ducks football poised for monster June," 11 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for breakdown

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for breakdown

Last Updated

5 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Breakdown.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/breakdown. Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for breakdown

breakdown

noun
How to pronounce break down (audio)

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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