\ 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

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Examples of break-in in a Sentence

Verb 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 Then came the break in the case that law enforcement needed: Folkes’ confession. oregonlive, 9 Aug. 2021 Thousands of hours of investigative steps, including multiple ground and air searches of the area, had been conducted prior to the break in the case Friday. Danielle Wallace, Fox News, 25 July 2021 Investigators essentially had to wait until a break in the case occurred to identify each nameless DNA profile, such as a subsequent arrest where police run the suspect’s DNA through the database and match DNA to the John Doe profile. Cory Shaffer, cleveland, 10 July 2021 These instances displayed a break in the link between supply and consideration, as did the notion of contingent fee arrangements as found in the case of Bluejay Mining. Robert Marchant, Forbes, 18 June 2021 Officials did not cite a specific break in the case that led them to charge Firkus now, following 11 years of investigation. Andy Rose, CNN, 22 May 2021 On Sunday, Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood announced a $50,000 reward for information that leads to a break in the cold case and a conviction. Lisa Maria Garza,, 25 Apr. 2021 There had been no autopsy, but investigators soon had a break in the case. Michael Roppolo, CBS News, 1 Apr. 2021 The family can only wait for investigators to make a break in the case — wait for someone to be brought to justice. Dallas News, 30 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for break-in

Time Traveler

The first known use of break-in was circa 1535

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Dictionary Entries Near break-in



break in

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Cite this Entry

“Break-in.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for break-in



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

break in

intransitive verb

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

More from Merriam-Webster on break-in

Nglish: Translation of break-in for Spanish Speakers


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