\ˈbrāk-ˌin \

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

The break in the Ankara-Riyadh relationship dates back to when democratic hopes sparked by the Arab Spring fizzled out in Egypt. Alex Ward, Vox, "Turkey’s unrelenting pressure on Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi, explained.," 24 Oct. 2018 NetSpectre, which can exploit one of the Spectre vulnerabilities remotely, can be used to break in via the cloud or a remote machine. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Solving Spectre and Meltdown may ultimately require an entirely new type of processor," 21 Aug. 2018 Deputies said a man tried to break in through a back door of the escape room in Vancouver, Washington, which is located inside a strip mall. Ashley May, USA TODAY, "Robber breaks into escape room. Then, calls 911 because he can't get out," 13 July 2018 There are plenty of new players to break in, including junior quarterback Patrick Straub. Rick Armstrong, Aurora Beacon-News, "Metea Valley's Julian Wlodarczyk finds good fit with FCS national champ North Dakota State," 1 July 2018 Every night for weeks, Dillon grew scared that people were trying to break in and burn his house down, Helmandollar said. NBC News, "Unlocked And loaded: Families confront dementia and guns," 26 June 2018 Every night for weeks, Dillon grew scared that people were trying to break in and burn his house down, Helmandollar said. Washington Post, "Unlocked And Loaded: Families Confront Dementia And Guns," 25 June 2018 Arboleda has excelled in Portland while on loan with T2 this season, scoring four goals in 10 appearances, but has been unable to break in with the first team. Jamie Goldberg,, "Portland Timbers looking to send Victor Arboleda on loan to club in Colombia," 7 June 2018 Officers responded to a domestic violence call at a Mesa apartment after a woman claimed her 20-year-old ex-boyfriend tried to break in. Crimesider Staff, CBS News, "Mesa officers placed on leave after video shows them repeatedly punching man," 6 June 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



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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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).


noxious or harmful

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