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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Faith followed her heart, breaking off her engagement to begin a relationship with fellow artist Tim instead. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "A Look Back at Tim McGraw and Faith Hill's Legendary Marriage," 2 Feb. 2019 Another photo showed a QF-16 target drone (a F-16 modified to act as an unmanned practice target) with the aircraft nose cone broken off. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "More Than a Dozen F-22s May Have Been Damaged or Destroyed by Hurricane Michael," 15 Oct. 2018 The couple seemed to have officially call it quits and have reportedly also broken off their engagement, according to TMZ. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson Have Reportedly Broken Up and Called Off Their Engagement," 14 Oct. 2018 This pressure campaign went on unbeknownst to me for months, because at that point Tyler broke off contact with me. Recode Staff, Recode, "Full transcript: WSJ investigative journalist John Carreyrou on Recode Decode," 3 June 2018 In September, a man died after rocks broke off El Capitan, falling on him and his wife. Christina Caron, New York Times, "Two Elite Climbers Fall to Their Deaths Scaling El Capitan in Yosemite," 3 June 2018 But the equipment was never delivered because the two countries broke off relations after American hostages were seized at the U.S. Embassy in Iran., "Fact-checking President Trump's reasons for leaving the Iran nuclear deal," 9 May 2018 If mouth parts break off remove them with tweezers., "How to remove a tick from your body," 7 May 2018 If the mouth-parts do break off, remove them with tweezers. Fiza Pirani, ajc, "Tick, mosquito and flea infections in US more than triple since 2004, CDC warns," 2 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.

See More

First Known Use of break off

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about break off

Statistics for break off

Last Updated

7 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for break off

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on break off

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with break off

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for break off

Britannica English: Translation of break off for Arabic Speakers

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).


marked by fawning attentiveness

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!