breakdown

noun
break·​down | \ ˈbrāk-ˌdau̇n How to pronounce breakdown (audio) \

Definition of breakdown

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the action or result of breaking down: such as
a : a failure to function preventing a breakdown of the health-care system
b : failure to progress or have effect : disintegration a breakdown of negotiations
c medicine : a complete loss of physical, mental, or emotional vitality : a physical, mental, or nervous collapse
d : the process of decomposing the breakdown of water into hydrogen and oxygen cellular breakdown
e : division into categories a statistical breakdown of data : classification also : an account analyzed into categories a budget breakdown
2 : a fast shuffling dance also : music for such a dance

break down

verb
broke down; broken down; breaking down; breaks down

Definition of break down (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to cause to fall or collapse by breaking or shattering
b : to make ineffective break down legal barriers
2a : to divide into parts or categories
b : to separate (something, such as a chemical compound) into simpler substances : decompose
c : to take apart especially for storage or shipment and for later reassembling

intransitive verb

1a : to stop functioning because of breakage or wear
b : to become inoperative or ineffective : fail negotiations broke down
c : to fail in strength or vitality her health broke down
d : to succumb to mental or emotional stress broke down and cried
e : to lose one's resolve : give in finally broke down and bought a computer
2 of horses : to severely injure the supporting ligament or bones of the fetlock joint
3a : to be susceptible to or undergo analysis or subdivision the statistics break down like this
b : to undergo decomposition

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Choose the Right Synonym for breakdown

Verb

analyze, dissect, break down mean to divide a complex whole into its parts or elements. analyze suggests separating or distinguishing the component parts of something (such as a substance, a process, a situation) so as to discover its true nature or inner relationships. analyzed the collected data dissect suggests a searching analysis by laying bare parts or pieces for individual scrutiny. commentators dissected every word of the speech break down implies a reducing to simpler parts or divisions. break down the budget

Examples of breakdown in a Sentence

Noun The factory has had frequent equipment breakdowns. Both sides are to blame for the breakdown in communication. The irretrievable breakdown of a marriage can be grounds for divorce. trying to prevent a breakdown of the health-care system trying to prevent breakdown of the health-care system He suffered a breakdown after his wife died. Verb when presented with the pile of files, the first thing he did was to break them down by month, order within the month, and region the enamel of a human tooth will begin to break down when exposed to sugar for too long
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But Beilein felt Thursday called for a longer breakdown. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Cleveland Cavaliers’ off day film session focused on accountability, effort and challenging one another," 22 Nov. 2019 This is your one-stop shop for a breakdown of all the action. Jim Reineking, USA TODAY, "Despite the win, Tom Brady's frustration with the Patriots is on point," 18 Nov. 2019 But after a defensive breakdown, the Pistons yielded an open game-tying 3-pointer to Marvin Williams with 23.3 seconds left. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons don't second guess last possession vs. Hornets. They expect execution," 17 Nov. 2019 The ideal resident-to-staff ratio is five-to-one, Gupta says, so don’t be afraid to ask for a breakdown of how the advertised ratio is calculated. Theresa Sullivan Barger, courant.com, "Memory care: Choosing a place for a loved one with dementia," 22 Oct. 2019 Even more surprisingly, Harrison compensated for the breakdown in the collaboration between Lennon and McCartney by contributing two of the album’s most memorable songs. Jonathan Gould, The New Yorker, "When the Beatles Walked Offstage: Fifty Years of “Abbey Road”," 21 Oct. 2019 Daugherty took full responsibility for that communications breakdown. oregonlive, "Failing forestry: Gov. Brown launches team to fix department’s financial mess," 21 Oct. 2019 The Panthers had no choice but to pass and hope for a breakdown in the Cincinnati secondary. Bill Koch, Cincinnati.com, "'Pike to Binns': An excerpt from author Bill Koch's latest book on UC Bearcats football," 11 Oct. 2019 When asked for the breakdown of students, faculty and staff involved, CU spokesperson Ken McConnellogue said that the groups are still in the formative stages and membership is still in flux. Lucy Haggard, The Denver Post, "Mark Kennedy updates CU regents on strategic plan progress," 6 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb USA TODAY Sports Paul Myerberg breaks down the latest Amway Coaches Poll. Hayes Gardner, The Courier-Journal, "'A lot of schools missed out': Kentucky native Tanner Morgan winning big for Minnesota," 14 Nov. 2019 USA TODAY Sports Paul Myerberg breaks down the latest Amway Coaches Poll. Michelle Gardner, azcentral, "Pac-12 power rankings: Oregon, Utah set up for College Football Playoff run," 11 Nov. 2019 The total mystery of chess may not have been solved but it was broken down in relatable terms with a workshop conducted by renowned author and Chess Master FM Sunil Weeramantry at the City of Sunrise Public Safety Building. Emmett Hall, sun-sentinel.com, "Demystifying Chess workshop educates veterans, military and first responders," 7 Nov. 2019 Just 14% of firms’ partners are women, according to a 2018 survey from Deloitte and the National Venture Capital Association; the results were not broken down by industry. Kate Sheridan, STAT, "Social connections first, science second: How biotech’s recipe for success has its limits," 31 Oct. 2019 Skip to main content USA TODAY Sports' Paul Myerberg breaks down the latest Amway Coaches Poll. Eddie Timanus, USA TODAY, "Heisman Watch: LSU quarterback Joe Burrow takes over as front-runner from Jalen Hurts," 29 Oct. 2019 USA TODAY Sports' Paul Myerberg breaks down the latest Amway Coaches Poll. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State's Mark Dantonio set for $4.3 million bonus if he stays through Jan. 15," 20 Oct. 2019 Their bodies were covered in sediment and limited water circulation and low oxygen levels allowed them to fossilize without being destroyed by predators or broken down by bacteria. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "This Ancient Shark Looked Like an Eel and Swallowed Its Prey Whole," 3 Oct. 2019 See the full 2019 list of the 100 Best Workplaces for women, broken down by size: Ed Frauenheim is senior director of content at Great Place to Work and the co-author of A Great Place to Work For All. Ed Frauenheim, Fortune, "How the Best Workplaces Are Working Toward Better Gender Fairness," 19 Sep. 2019

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

Noun

1827, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

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Time Traveler for breakdown

Time Traveler

The first known use of breakdown was in the 14th century

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Statistics for breakdown

Last Updated

25 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Breakdown.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/breakdown. Accessed 7 December 2019.

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More Definitions for breakdown

breakdown

noun
How to pronounce break down (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of breakdown

: a failure of a machine to function : an occurrence in which a machine (such as a car) stops working
: the failure of a relationship or of an effort to discuss something
: a failure that prevents a system from working properly

breakdown

noun
break·​down | \ ˈbrāk-ˌdau̇n How to pronounce breakdown (audio) \

Kids Definition of breakdown

1 : a failure to function properly
2 : a sudden failure of mental or physical health

breakdown

noun
break·​down | \ ˈbrāk-ˌdau̇n How to pronounce breakdown (audio) \

Medical Definition of breakdown

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: the action or result of breaking down: as
a : a failure to function
b : a physical, mental, or nervous collapse
c : the process of decomposing breakdown of food during digestion

breakdown

adjective

Medical Definition of breakdown (Entry 2 of 3)

: obtained or resulting from disintegration or decomposition of a substance a breakdown product of purine

break down

transitive verb
\ (ˈ)brāk-ˈdau̇n How to pronounce break down (audio) \

Medical Definition of break down (Entry 3 of 3)

: to separate (as a chemical compound) into simpler substances : decompose

intransitive verb

1a : to stop functioning because of breakage or wear
b : to fail in strength or vitality
c : to succumb to mental or emotional stress
2 of horses : to severely injure the supporting ligament or bones of the fetlock joint
3 : to undergo decomposition

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Comments on breakdown

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