break-in

noun
\ 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

verb
broke in; broken in; breaking in; breaks 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

Synonyms for break-in

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of break-in in a Sentence

Verb 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 In the complaint submitted to the commission, Skeete reported that recruits are subjected to pointless lunch inspections that often cut their 30-minute lunch break in half. Hyeyoon Alyssa Choi, Los Angeles Times, 4 May 2022 Prior to his big break in This Is Spinal Tap, he was also credited on Toni Basil’s 1981 debut album Word of Mouth. Glenn Rowley, Billboard, 2 May 2022 A month later, during her spring break in March 2018, Ms. Wagner visited her sister in Chicago. New York Times, 29 Apr. 2022 Stephen Curry was upbeat about the prospects of returning from his spring break in time for the playoff, and about his teammates’ ability to steam along without for two weeks and 12 (or so) games. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, 20 Mar. 2022 Joyce said the Wildcats were able to execute their press break in the third quarter, and that proved to be the difference. Joe Noga, cleveland, 12 Mar. 2022 Fifteen years after getting his big break in The Dark Knight, David Dastmalchian is reteaming with filmmaker Christopher Nolan. Aaron Couch, The Hollywood Reporter, 25 Feb. 2022 Seeing Murray sweat his way into an All-Star game is one reason Johnson chose to spend most of his All-Star break in the gym working out, instead of hitting a beach somewhere. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, 23 Feb. 2022 The 32-year-old first stepped into the spotlight in 2010 and got her big break in 2012's Downton Abbey. Kelsie Gibson, PEOPLE.com, 2 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of break-in

Noun

1856, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

circa 1535, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Buying Guide

Our Reviews team has selected the best home security camera systems.

Learn More About break-in

Time Traveler for break-in

Time Traveler

The first known use of break-in was circa 1535

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near break-in

breakhead

break-in

break in

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for break-in

Cite this Entry

“Break-in.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/break-in. Accessed 24 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for break-in

break-in

noun
\ ˈbrāk-ˌin \

Legal Definition of break-in

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the act or action of breaking in

break in

intransitive verb

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

More from Merriam-Webster on break-in

Nglish: Translation of break-in for Spanish Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Which Word Does Not Belong?

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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