breakdown

noun
break·​down | \ˈbrāk-ˌdau̇n \

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

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

Everyone in Seattle knew someone who had gotten divorced, or gained forty pounds in a year, or had a breakdown or a cold that turned into hospital-grade pneumonia, or just turned hollow and brittle and paranoid. Longreads, "Trying to Kill the Want," 20 June 2018 Whether these talks yield a realistic framework for a US-North Korea nuclear agreement or end up in a complete diplomatic breakdown are both possible outcomes. Jen Kirby, Vox, "North Korea summit: Trump and Kim shake hands," 12 June 2018 The figures show that the gender breakdown among senior olim resembles that of the rest of the country's senior citizen population, with 60 percent of new immigrants over the age of 65 being women compared to 40 percent men. Nadav Shaham, Jewish Journal, "Report: Greater numbers of senior citizens are making aliyah," 12 July 2018 The Transit Security Advisory Committee’s latest report about the exclusion policy to the state legislature, dated Feb. 27, includes the racial breakdown of prohibition orders in 2017 but offers neither comment nor scrutiny. Ted Andersen, SFChronicle.com, "Two-thirds of people banned from BART are black — and agency isn’t asking why," 6 July 2018 The tableau, a political statement of its own, highlights the breakdown of order that can occur when women aren’t respected. Taylor Hosking, The Atlantic, "Beyonce and Jay-Z’s New Vision of Gender in ‘Apeshit’," 22 June 2018 One leading hypothesis is that pancreatic tumors release a chemical signal or factor that travels throughout the body promoting the breakdown of muscle and fat. Justin Chen, STAT, "Muscle and fat loss may offer clues to pancreatic cancer’s deadly ways," 20 June 2018 This is a pretty pervasive thing in the family drama or the American domestic tragedy — the breakdown of communication so that things can later be blurted out, and heard. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "Hereditary director Ari Aster on family trauma and researching that ending," 14 June 2018 Some foreign-policy experts said the breakdown at the Group of 7 meeting would play to North Korea's advantage, since Trump can ill afford two failed summit meetings, back to back. Author: Mark Landler, Anchorage Daily News, "As Trump-Kim summit nears, president is confident, but wide gaps remain," 11 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Official state numbers for 2017, broken down by county, are not available until September. Mará Rose Williams, kansascity, "Teen suicide doesn’t end with the school year. Now JoCo schools offer summertime therapy," 12 July 2018 The Christmas tree had been removed and evidence of the event wiped away, though office doors broken down by police were not yet replaced. Meredith Cohn, baltimoresun.com, "What happens to the sites of mass shootings depends on where and what they are," 10 July 2018 Canine Campus has four rates, broken down by Tinley Park Park District resident, Orland Township resident, Tinley Park resident and non-resident. Dennis Sullivan, Daily Southtown, "Dog days of summer: Tinley Park district throws Beach Pawty at Canine Campus park," 9 July 2018 Privacy - Terms The list, broken down by cuisine, neighborhood and availability of the promotion, is available at the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau’s website iLoveMiamiSpice.com. Carlos Frías, miamiherald, "Miami Spice 2018 menus are out and your diet is officially over," 6 July 2018 Changes in cortisol can affect the body’s insulin levels and its ability to break down sugar. Alice Park, Time, "Working Long Hours Can Raise the Risk of This Disease," 2 July 2018 Here's a three-step guide from De La Rosa, breaking down this magical thinking. 1. The Editors Of Gq, GQ, "How to Cure a Hangover: A Drinker’s Guide to Surviving the Morning After," 29 June 2018 Quandl, a data provider, sells information on the number of Tesla cars sold each day, broken down by each American state. The Economist, "Hedge funds worry about the legal risks of using “alternative” data," 21 June 2018 On Thursday, the U.S. social security administration announced their annual list of popular baby names, broken down by state. Jill Vejnoska, ajc, "Why Georgia keeps growing, despite decline in births," 8 June 2018

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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Learn More about breakdown

Statistics for breakdown

Last Updated

11 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for breakdown

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

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More Definitions for breakdown

breakdown

noun

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 \

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 \

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 \

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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