\ 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

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

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Synonyms for break-in

Synonyms: Verb

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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 The steering column support structure may crack or break in certain right-hand, stand-up drive models. Detroit Free Press, "Car recalls for January 14-21," 22 Jan. 2021 Also in the Richmond, Cassava took to social media to post about losing roughly $3,000 worth of equipment, including multiple iPads, following a break in. Justin Phillips,, "S.F. restaurant owners say rise in property crime is making dire situation worse," 2 Jan. 2021 Max Privorozki, head of the Jewish community in Halle, who was inside the synagogue when the attacker tried to break in, said police and local authorities had stepped up efforts to better protect Jewish institutions in Germany since the attack. Ruth Bender, WSJ, "German Yom Kippur Shooter Sentenced to Life," 21 Dec. 2020 So the only way to break in is to work for free or to know someone. NBC News, "Director of queer classic 'But I'm a Cheerleader' wanted to 'make a gay "Clueless"'," 4 Dec. 2020 The state’s mink industry tends to make news only when activists break in and release the animals; the last episode appears to have happened in 2013, when two men from Los Angeles freed 2,000 mink from a farm in Morris. John Keilman,, "Coronavirus is striking American mink farms, but Illinois’ shrinking fur industry has so far escaped the virus," 27 Nov. 2020 The kind of heart and mind that allowed players to persevere through the longest national team break in more than three decades. Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times, "U.S. women’s national team defeats Netherlands in first match since March," 27 Nov. 2020 After making the rounds of local polling sites, the rabbis took a lunch break in a nearby park, where they were joined by some other Jewish election volunteers. Ben Sales,, "Volunteering to aid voters in Philadelphia, rabbis encounter the unexpected: Peace and optimism," 4 Nov. 2020 Several outlets have reported the NBA, despite the ongoing pandemic, intends to hold an in-person All-Star Game during its break in March, but the league hasn’t announced official plans. Callie Caplan, Dallas News, "Luka Doncic ranks as 2021 All-Star starter after first fan votes, trails Steph Curry among West guards," 4 Feb. 2021

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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Time Traveler for break-in

Time Traveler

The first known use of break-in was circa 1535

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Statistics for break-in

Cite this Entry

“Break-in.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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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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Nglish: Translation of break-in for Spanish Speakers

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