break off

verb

broke off; broken off; breaking off; breaks 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

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 Emergency services said a 50-meter ice floe broke off near the village of Starodubskoye in the Sea of Okhotsk between Russia and Japan, stranding more than 80 fisherman a kilometer offshore. Josh Pennington, CNN, 18 Feb. 2024 When a lightbulb breaks off, a glass lining is usually left inside the metal housing that screws into the light fixture. Jeanne Huber, Washington Post, 16 Feb. 2024 Chunks of pavement broke off onto the beach as waves and rain eroded the ground beneath the highway. Salvador Hernandez, Los Angeles Times, 15 Feb. 2024 Authorities have rescued dozens of ice anglers from normally solid northern Minnesota lakes after ice floes broke off and carried them along. Steve Karnowski, Twin Cities, 8 Feb. 2024 An Alaska Airlines flight was disrupted when the door plug on a section of its fuselage broke off after takeoff. Sheldon Jacobson, The Mercury News, 30 Jan. 2024 Ervil and his brother Joel initially were followers of their father's teachings, then joined the main LDS church, but eventually, Joel broke off and founded his Church of the First Born of the Fullness of Time, with Ervil as his right-hand man and main support. Jessica Sager, Peoplemag, 9 Jan. 2024 With the gale force winds brought on by the storm, a 40-foot sailboat’s mast broke off near Alamitos Bay in Long Beach, Brian Fisk, a firefighter and public information officer for the Long Beach Fire Department, told McClatchy News in a phone interview. Daniella Segura, Sacramento Bee, 5 Feb. 2024 In Daniels’ apartment, investigators found a bag with bloody items: a pack of Newport cigarettes, a pair of scissors and a folding knife with its tip broken off. Nick Ferraro, Twin Cities, 2 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'break off.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near break off

Cite this Entry

“Break off.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/break%20off. Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

break off

verb
: to stop suddenly

More from Merriam-Webster on break off

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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