\ ˈbrāk-ˌin How to pronounce break-in (audio) \

Definition of break-in

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the act or action of breaking in a rash of break-ins at the new apartment house
2 : a performance or a series of performances serving as a trial run
3 : an initial period of operation during which working parts begin to function efficiently

break in

broke in; broken in; breaking in; breaks in

Definition of break in (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to enter something (such as a building or computer system) without consent or by force
2a : intrude break in upon his privacy
b : to interrupt a conversation
3 : to start in an activity or enterprise breaking in as a cub reporter

transitive verb

1 : to accustom to a certain activity or occurrence break in the new clerk
2 : to overcome the stiffness or newness of break in a pair of shoes

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Synonyms for break-in

Synonyms: Verb

burglarize, burgle

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Examples of break-in in a Sentence


the burglars broke in by smashing a window he rudely broke in to drop the names of several celebrities that he had met

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The tie was broken in a follow-up round, with Allen winning the honors by shucking 22 oysters and the $150 prize. Ann Maloney,, "Find out who took home all the clams at the New Orleans Oyster Festival," 4 June 2019 Some things just look better when they're broken in—a leather jacket, the perfect 501s, a killer pair of boots—while others, honestly, don't. Glamour, "Twitter Is Freaking Out Over This 'How to Clean White Sneakers' Trick," 15 May 2019 Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said Monday his office would investigate whether any laws were broken in the distribution of the tax credit. Joseph De Avila, WSJ, "New Jersey Gov. Murphy Unveils Plan for Revamped Tax Incentives," 16 Jan. 2019 Last year, Meghan royal protocol was broken in a big way when the Queen made an exception and invited her to spend Christmas with the Windsor fam in Sandringham (typically, only formal spouses are invited to the festivities). Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "How Meghan Markle's Body Language Has Evolved Since Last Christmas," 26 Dec. 2018 The project began when workers started tearing away the old mall's brick and concrete — which was broken in many areas — as soon as the contract for the work received City Council approval in April. Steve Lord, Aurora Beacon-News, "With Water Street Mall work finished, Aurora looks to renovate Mundy Park," 12 July 2018 It was broken in a May 19 incident at the Tomahawk Ridge Community Center. Lynn Horsley, kansascity, "OP sculpture that boy 'hugged' wasn't appraised. His family's insurance paid $107,000," 9 July 2018 The piece was broken in such a way that it could be used as a weapon, prompting Sgt. Travis Andersen,, "Police say Wareham man struggled with officers before being Tasered in police lockup," 5 July 2018 That system has been broken in the last 20 years-plus. Michael D. Shear, New York Times, "Anger Flares as G-7 Heads to Quebec," 7 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'break-in.' 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 break-in


1856, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1535, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

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Statistics for break-in

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Time Traveler for break-in

The first known use of break-in was circa 1535

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English Language Learners Definition of break-in

: the act or crime of illegally entering a house, building, etc., especially by using force


\ ˈbrāk-ˌin\

Legal Definition of break-in

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the act or action of breaking in

Legal Definition of break in (Entry 2 of 2)

: to enter something (as a building or computer system) without privilege (as consent) or by force

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More from Merriam-Webster on break-in

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with break-in

Spanish Central: Translation of break-in

Nglish: Translation of break-in for Spanish Speakers

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