\ 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 Turns can be made when there is a break in traffic. Tim Harlow, Star Tribune, "Turning right on red? Stop or yield first — or face a fine," 21 Sep. 2020 In fact, big retailers like Target have announced plans to keep stores closed on Thanksgiving Day, which is a huge break in tradition for early Black Friday shoppers. Shanon Maglente, Good Housekeeping, "Black Friday Store Hours for 2020 — What to Know About This Year's Shopping Experience," 18 Sep. 2020 Republicans also fret the Trump campaign’s tighter budget leaves fewer resources to capitalize on any political updraft and press Biden in states that might break in his direction down the stretch. David M. Drucker, Washington Examiner, "Trump money crunch limiting his battleground options," 17 Sep. 2020 The couple's break in May came after Disick sought treatment in rehab in late April. Robyn Merrett,, "Caitlyn Jenner Has Hope Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick Will Get Back Together," 14 Sep. 2020 There has been no break in workouts since June 1, whereas many districts across the state have shut things down because of the coronavirus. Richard Obert, The Arizona Republic, "In heart of the Valley, Phoenix Christian is all in on football amid coronavirus pandemic," 2 Sep. 2020 The men, including one who wore a neon safety vest, said there was a water main break in the area and needed to check her house. Adam Ferrise, cleveland, "Alert Uber driver helps authorities arrest trio accused of trying to rob elderly Lake County residents," 11 Aug. 2020 Blanton, who was 46, had called the Jeffersonville Police just before 3 a.m. that day and reported that Oberhansley was trying to break in. Lucas Aulbach, The Courier-Journal, "As Indiana cannibalism case begins, attorney says evidence resembles 'a horror movie'," 11 Sep. 2020 Down in the reactor room, Emori has the genius idea to knock out the power — and therefore the shields — so the bugs can invade Sanctum and attack the Grounders trying to break in. Dalene Rovenstine,, "The 100 recap: What did Clarke just do?," 10 Sep. 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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Statistics for break-in

Cite this Entry

“Break-in.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for break-in


How to pronounce break in (audio)

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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Nglish: Translation of break-in for Spanish Speakers

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