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

Bradford gives the Beavers an intermediate and deep threat in the passing game, as well as an occasional threat to break off a run., "Oregon State football, top 19 players for 2019: No. 15, Trevon Bradford," 7 July 2019 It is believed that the tree limb broke off as a result of strong winds Sunday afternoon. Kathleen Mcwilliams,, "Man killed by falling tree limb in Fairfield," 1 July 2019 Investigators found that the plane had lost a piece of horizontal stabilizer and that the plane’s elevator had broken off. Andrew Selsky, The Denver Post, "Vail snowboarder among 11 killed after skydiving plane crashes in Hawaii," 23 June 2019 Did the ice front step back or was this a case of wind blowing out already broken off bergs? Elizabeth Rush, National Geographic, "Here's what Antarctica's calving glaciers look like up close," 12 Mar. 2019 In a joint statement on Wednesday, Brazil’s foreign and trade ministers said they were informed of the decision by the United States to break off negotiations last Thursday. Shasta Darlington, New York Times, "The U.S. Says It Has a Tariff Deal With Brazil. Brazil Disagrees.," 2 May 2018 Britain and Russia have each expelled 23 diplomats, broken off high-level contacts and taken other punitive steps in the escalating tit-for-tat dispute, which clouded the run-up to Sunday's presidential election in Russia. Jill Lawless,, "Amid spy row, UK accuses Russia of stockpiling a nerve agent," 18 Mar. 2018 The flakes broken off by the impact even still fit perfectly into their old spots on the stone hammers. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Debate heats up over whether 130,000-year-old bones were broken by humans," 7 Feb. 2018 Indispensable in McDaniels’ scheme over the past few seasons is the slot receiver who can master the option route – normal routes that give the wideout the freedom to break off depending on what the defense is doing. Zak Keefer, Indianapolis Star, "What Josh McDaniels would mean for Colts quarterback Andrew Luck," 16 Jan. 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

11 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for break off

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

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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

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to complain fretfully

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