break off

broke off; broken off; breaking off; breaks 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 McDaniels almost left the Patriots again this past offseason, but broke off his agreement to become head coach of the Indianapolis Colts., "Dante Scarnecchia," 29 Dec. 2019 But the Tigers' concern will be on making sure Dobbins isn't breaking off quality runs consistently. Stephen Means, cleveland, "How Clemson’s ‘Paw Drill’ is preparing them to face Ohio State football’s J.K. Dobbins," 26 Dec. 2019 Talks to rehire former coach Greg Schiano gained some traction, but broke off before Thanksgiving. Washington Post, "Shootings, impeachment drama among New Jersey’s top stories," 24 Dec. 2019 Gigi had just split from Joe Jonas, and Zayn had broken off his engagement to Little Mix's Perrie Edwards about three months prior. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "9 of the Worst Celebrity Breakups of 2019," 20 Dec. 2019 Mixon ripped off a 29-yard, reverse-field jaunt, and Giovani Bernard broke off a 17-yarder. John Fay,, "Andy Dalton throws four interceptions in Cincinnati Bengals loss to New England Patriots," 15 Dec. 2019 That is an apparent reaction to concerns that more urban areas could break off from PG&E and leave rural communities behind. J.d. Morris,, "Push to make PG&E a co-op gets more support and ‘operating principles’," 5 Dec. 2019 Gordon Nardell, the Labour candidate, broke off from the party activists outside the tube station last week to knock on some doors alone. Benjamin Mueller, New York Times, "How an Anti-Brexit London District Could Help Boris Johnson Triumph," 30 Nov. 2019 Grayback was found in two pieces on the bottom of the ocean, with the front end broken off from the rest of the submarine and a large hole in the stern. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Lost World War II Submarine Rediscovered 75 Years Later," 12 Nov. 2019

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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Time Traveler for break off

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for break off

Last Updated

10 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Break off.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 January 2020.

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More from Merriam-Webster on break off

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for break off

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with break off

Britannica English: Translation of break off for Arabic Speakers

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