\ ˈbrāk-ˌin How to pronounce break-in (audio) \

Definition of break-in

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the act or action of breaking in a rash of break-ins at the new apartment house
2 : a performance or a series of performances serving as a trial run
3 : an initial period of operation during which working parts begin to function efficiently

break in


Definition of break in (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to enter something (such as a building or computer system) without consent or by force
2a : intrude break in upon his privacy
b : to interrupt a conversation
3 : to start in an activity or enterprise breaking in as a cub reporter

transitive verb

1 : to accustom to a certain activity or occurrence break in the new clerk
2 : to overcome the stiffness or newness of break in a pair of shoes

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Synonyms for break-in

Synonyms: Verb

burglarize, burgle

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Examples of break-in in a Sentence


the burglars broke in by smashing a window he rudely broke in to drop the names of several celebrities that he had met

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Andrew Jang soon received a big break in the form of a very big man. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "He Makes Suits for Sports Stars. He Is Also a Fugitive.," 14 Mar. 2019 Instead of taking a break in between exercises in a circuit workout, for example, use that time to perform a dynamic stretch, says Straub. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "What Is a Stretch Studio? Here’s What You Need to Know About This Growing Fitness Trend," 24 Feb. 2019 The two votes represented a major break in the solid GOP backing Trump has enjoyed in his first two years as president and sent a strong signal that congressional Republicans are willing to split with the White House on national security matters. Martin Crutsinger, The Seattle Times, "Treasury lifts sanctions against 3 Russian companies," 28 Jan. 2019 Due to childrearing responsibilities, women are statistically more likely to have breaks in their employment history than men, Stephens said. Omid Scobie, Harper's BAZAAR, ""She Really Gets It": How Duchess Meghan Is Changing Lives with Her First Patronage," 10 Jan. 2019 Congress members, meanwhile, will see no breaks in their pay whatsoever. Li Zhou, Vox, "Senators are getting paid during the government shutdown. Many low-wage contractors aren’t.," 27 Dec. 2018 Guests went from panel to panel, taking breaks in our lounge, courtesy of American Dream, and enjoyed an intimate lunch with some of New York’s most exciting designers and Vogue editors. Katie Knoll, Vogue, "A Force for Change: Vogue’s Forces of Fashion," 15 Oct. 2018 While in London, the superstar decided to take a break in front of Buckingham Palace and entertain a crowd of fans, including his fiancee, Haily Baldwin, with an impromptu guitar show. Morgan M. Evans, Fox News, "Justin Bieber serenades Hailey Baldwin in front of fans outside Buckingham Palace," 19 Sep. 2018 Rumors of Gaga and Carino's engagement first broke in the summer of 2017. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Lady Gaga Confirms She's Engaged to Christian Carino," 16 Oct. 2018

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


1856, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1535, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

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Statistics for break-in

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Time Traveler for break-in

The first known use of break-in was circa 1535

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More Definitions for break-in



English Language Learners Definition of break-in

: the act or crime of illegally entering a house, building, etc., especially by using force


\ ˈbrāk-ˌin\

Legal Definition of break-in

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the act or action of breaking in

Legal Definition of break in (Entry 2 of 2)

: to enter something (as a building or computer system) without privilege (as consent) or by force

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More from Merriam-Webster on break-in

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with break-in

Spanish Central: Translation of break-in

Nglish: Translation of break-in for Spanish Speakers

Comments on break-in

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


to boil down or concentrate

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