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

Here’s a breakdown of those artists, their nominations and their state ties: Mac McAnally earned a nomination for Musician of the Year. Mary Colurso | Mcolurso@al.com, al, "CMA Awards 2019: 4 acts with Alabama ties among nominees," 28 Aug. 2019 Here’s a breakdown of what the report calls for, what could change if the mayor approves the recommendations and why gifted programs and selective schools are under the microscope. New York Times, "The Plan to Scrap New York’s Gifted Programs: 5 Takeaways," 27 Aug. 2019 Here’s the breakdown: The Wildcats had the ball at the Rainbow Warriors’ 31 with 10 seconds left and no timeouts. Michael Lev, azcentral, "Arizona Wildcats rewind: Five takeaways from UA’s season-opening loss to Hawaii," 26 Aug. 2019 Ahead of the announcement, here’s a breakdown of who the top contenders are, according to Bachelor Nation. Jodi Guglielmi, PEOPLE.com, "Who Will Be the Next Bachelor? Analyzing Mike Johnson, Derek Peth and Peter Weber's Chances," 26 Aug. 2019 Here’s a breakdown of the UConn football team’s 2019 schedule: UConn will ease into its 2019 schedule with this matchup against the FCS-level Seahawks, who went 4-7 last year. Jonah Dylan, courant.com, "‘We’ve moved on to Wagner:’ Breaking down the 2019 UConn football schedule," 22 Aug. 2019 Here’s a breakdown of how the Portland protests were portrayed on national TV: Broadcast channels: The major broadcast channels carried coverage of sporting events, though local affiliates offered streaming coverage and reports on evening newscasts. oregonlive.com, "How Portland protests played on national TV: From ‘peaceful but very, very tense’ to ‘ground zero for antifa’," 18 Aug. 2019 Here’s a breakdown of the debate over the strategy. Charles Curtis, For The Win, "Fantasy football: The case for and against 'zero RB' drafting," 15 Aug. 2019 Until then, here’s a breakdown of the initial depth chart. Cameron Teague Robinson, The Courier-Journal, "Jawon Pass, Malik Cunningham battling at QB as Louisville football depth chart is released," 16 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Tuesday’s hearing focused mainly on the hot temperatures some of the Pack inmates who had been transferred to another prison — the LeBlanc Unit in Southeast Texas — felt in July and August after their air conditioning system broke down. Washington Post, "Official: Texas violated settlement over hot prisons," 11 Sep. 2019 After trade talks broke down this spring, Trump and Xi agreed in June to resume negotiations. Fortune, "‘Sorry, It’s the Way I Negotiate,’ Trump Says of U.S.-China Trade Talks," 26 Aug. 2019 Trump announced plans to raise tariffs Sept. 1 on $300 billion of Chinese products after talks broke down in May. Increases on some goods were postponed to Dec. 15. Joe Mcdonald, The Denver Post, "China announces tariff hike on $75 billion of US products," 23 Aug. 2019 Alibaba decided to list in the United States five years ago after negotiations with Hong Kong broke down. Laura He, CNN, "Alibaba will reportedly delay its second listing in Hong Kong," 21 Aug. 2019 But as the first half wore on, Atlanta continued to break down the Orlando City backline, launching a full-frontal assault and taking seven shots in the final 15 minutes of the first half. Julia Poe, Pro Soccer USA, "Orlando City falls 2-0 to Atlanta United in semifinals of U.S. Open Cup," 8 Aug. 2019 Two bodies found Wednesday in rural Manitoba may be those of two missing teen suspects wanted in the murder of an American woman and her boyfriend, who were discovered shot to death last month after their car broke down on a Canadian road trip. Jeff Truesdell, PEOPLE.com, "Two Bodies Found in Search for Missing Teens Suspected of Killing N.C. Woman and Boyfriend," 7 Aug. 2019 After talks broke down in May, Mr. Trump raised the tariff on $200 billion in Chinese goods to 25 percent. Alexandra Stevenson, New York Times, "U.S.-China Trade Talks End With No Deal in Sight," 31 July 2019 Let’s break down the facts versus fiction about child support and its enforcement in Kentucky, according to the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office Division of Child Support. The Courier-Journal, "If you pay or receive child support, here’s what you really need to know," 31 July 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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Statistics for breakdown

Last Updated

2 Sep 2019

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 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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