break off


Definition of break off 

intransitive verb

1 : to stop abruptly break off in the middle of a sentence

2 : to become detached branches that broke off in the storm

3 : to end a relationship broke off with his business partner

transitive verb

1 : discontinue break off diplomatic relations

2 : to remove by or as if by breaking broke off a chunk of bread

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Examples of break off in a Sentence

the judge broke off court proceedings until after lunch talks between the two sides broke off when one began making unreasonable demands

Recent Examples on the Web

Inspectors now believe that the CFM56-7B jet engine failure occurred when one of the engine’s fan blades broke off and came loose. Time, "Southwest Cancels 40 Flights as It Works to Inspect Plane Engines After Deadly Explosion," 22 Apr. 2018 And before that, another of the engines experienced a less-catastrophic failure in 2016, when a fan blade broke off and ripped a gash in the side of a different Southwest plane. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "What Airlines Are Doing to Prevent Another Southwest Disaster," 20 Apr. 2018 The ear on the right side of the statue was broken off and found nearby Feb. 24. Fox News, "Police charge 2 in damage to Nittany Lion Shrine," 28 Mar. 2018 The right ear on Penn State’s iconic Nittany Lion statue was broken off over the weekend, and police yet haven’t determined who damaged it, or if the incident was an accident or an act of vandalism. Rob Tornoe,, "Who damaged Penn State's Nittany Lion statue?," 27 Feb. 2018 After making challah, a piece is typically broken off and burned as an offering, Dubov said. Ryan Gillespie,, "Central Florida Mega Babka-llah Bake teaches Jewish heritage," 18 Feb. 2018 So, if the engagement is broken off and the couple doesn’t get married, who gets to keep the bling? David Carrig, USA TODAY, "Valentine's Day: Planning to pop the question? If it doesn't work out, who keeps the ring?," 7 Feb. 2018 They have been joined by northern fighters once loyal to Ali Abdullah Saleh, a former dictator whom the Houthis killed in December when Saleh broke off their alliance. The Economist, "Yemen’s main port could become the next battleground," 7 June 2018 That happened in 2002, when a chunk of ice the size of Rhode Island broke off the east coast of the Antarctic Peninsula and crashed into the Larsen Sea. David Cox /, NBC News, "Can these bold plans keep the world's ice sheets from melting?," 28 May 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

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Statistics for break off

Last Updated

31 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for break off

The first known use of break off was in the 14th century

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Comments on break off

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


obstinately defiant of authority

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