breakdown

play
noun break·down \ ˈbrāk-ˌdau̇n \

Definition of breakdown

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

Examples of breakdown in a Sentence

  1. The factory has had frequent equipment breakdowns.

  2. Both sides are to blame for the breakdown in communication.

  3. The irretrievable breakdown of a marriage can be grounds for divorce.

  4. trying to prevent a breakdown of the health-care system

  5. trying to prevent breakdown of the health-care system

  6. He suffered a breakdown after his wife died.

Recent Examples of breakdown from the Web

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.

First Known Use of breakdown

1827


break down

verb

Definition of break down

transitive verb
1 a :to cause to fall or collapse by breaking or shattering
b :to make ineffective
  • break down legal barriers
2 a :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
1 a :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
3 a :to be susceptible to or undergo analysis or subdivision
  • the statistics break down like this
b :to undergo decomposition

Examples of break down in a Sentence

  1. 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

  2. the enamel of a human tooth will begin to break down when exposed to sugar for too long

First Known Use of break down

14th century

Synonym Discussion of break down

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


BREAKDOWN Defined for English Language Learners

breakdown

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noun

Definition of breakdown for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

breakdown

play
noun break·down \ ˈbrāk-ˌdau̇n \

Definition of breakdown for Students

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

Medical Dictionary

1

breakdown

play
noun break·down \ ˈbrāk-ˌdau̇n \

medical Definition of breakdown

: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

2

breakdown

adjective

medical Definition of breakdown

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

break down

play
transitive verb \ (ˈ)brāk-ˈdau̇n \

medical Definition of break down

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