1 of 2

noun (1)

break·​er ˈbrā-kər How to pronounce breaker (audio)
plural breakers
: someone or something that breaks something
a deal breaker
world record breakers
: a machine or plant for breaking rocks or coal
chiefly British : someone who breaks up ships or cars for salvage
: a device for opening a circuit
specifically : circuit breaker
: a wave breaking into foam (as against the shore)
Few things leave you feeling as connected to nature as surfing—whether you're floundering about in the breakers or riding the waves.Ellie Ross
: someone who breakdances : breakdancer
While the first generation of breakers who started in the early 1970s aged out within five years, newer generations in their early teens were coming up and seeking out others who kept the dance alive on their own blocks in New York City.Imani Kai Johnson


2 of 2

noun (2)

brea·​ker ˈbrā-kər How to pronounce breaker (audio)
: a small water cask

Examples of breaker in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
The 62-yard run was representative of the big plays that have been back breakers this season. Kirk Kenney, San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 Nov. 2023 Friday’s list of activities featured ice breakers, table talks, and opportunities to write down our feelings, thoughts and ideas in our high-quality journals provided by BLK. Okla Jones, Essence, 20 Sep. 2023 Another breaker of records, Peso Pluma, became the first regional Mexican act to take the stage at any VMAs in history. Suzy Exposito, Los Angeles Times, 15 Sep. 2023 Every awards season, pundits leave themselves open to late-year breakers. Clayton Davis, Variety, 11 Sep. 2023 Clark Edgeware is an archaeologist in disgrace, Riley Rhodes is a curse breaker on the rise, and the infamous Scottish castle they’ve both been hired to investigate is the battleground. Olivia Waite, New York Times, 31 Oct. 2023 Fashion, as an ice breaker, is fashion in its highest form (this coming from the woman who bought the Pigeon purse…naturally). Jenny Walton, Vogue, 25 Oct. 2023 Iconic breakers and rising talent came together at The Fillmore Philadelphia, where competitors showcased unparalleled footwork, freezes, and power moves to win over a judging panel of respected breakers and claim the coveted national b-boy and b-girl championship titles. Okla Jones, Essence, 12 Sep. 2023 Mortensen helped pioneer the role of a news breaker who contributed to multiple broadcasts and platforms with both reporting and analysis. Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY, 5 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'breaker.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun (2)

by folk etymology from Spanish barrica

First Known Use

Noun (1)

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun (2)

1833, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of breaker was in the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near breaker

Cite this Entry

“Breaker.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a person or thing that breaks something
: a wave breaking into foam against the shore

More from Merriam-Webster on breaker

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!