\ 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

Two men sharing a smoke break in a parking lot were questioned about their immigration status by a trooper, who discovered they were undocumented and arrested them. Jeff Gammage, ProPublica, "ACLU Sues Pennsylvania State Police, Alleging They’ve Overstepped in Acting as Immigration Authorities," 5 July 2019 The two exchanged breaks in the middle of the second set, with Gauff giving her break back with two double faults to even things at 4–4. Gerald Marzorati, The New Yorker, "Venus Williams Blazed a Trail for Coco Gauff, Who Looks Like the Future of Tennis," 2 July 2019 Samardzija lasted eight innings, allowed two runs and preserved a bullpen that houses more than one man who needed a break in the team's 18th game in 18 days. Henry Schulman,, "Giants go on extra-base-hit tear, smash Padres — Austin Slater homers in ’19 debut," 1 July 2019 Detectives got a break in the investigation and finding receipts and other evidence of two mobile phones being bought by Samuel Sullivan, 42, and his ex-wife Jenny Sullivan, 44. Christopher Harress |,, "DNA testing confirms remains found in Grand Bay belong to missing Mobile nurse Terri Sullivan," 28 June 2019 Sadly, that glass ceiling is yet to be broken in real life. Bonnie Stiernberg, Glamour, "The Veep Series Finale Gave Selina Meyer and Julia Louis-Dreyfus an Ending They Deserve," 13 May 2019 And keep in mind: Mats need to be broken in and get better with use. Lexie Sachs, Good Housekeeping, "8 Best Yoga Mats to Buy in 2019, According to Yoga and Wellness Experts," 28 Jan. 2019 Allen was the second lefty to break in successfully against the Brewers in the last three weeks. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Padres 4, Brewers 1: Rookie pitcher short-circuits offense once again," 19 June 2019 An acquaintance of the victim told police someone had broken in through the front door and shot him. Loyd Brumfield, Dallas News, "Masked intruders at large after critically wounding man at Fort Worth apartment," 18 June 2019

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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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

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

Comments on break-in

What made you want to look up break-in? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to form ideas or theories about something

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