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 the ultimate product: the 2019-20 UConn women’s basketball team. Alexa Philippou, courant.com, "Introducing the 2019-20 UConn women’s basketball team," 7 Nov. 2019 Below is a breakdown of the Wild-Stars odds and lines, with NHL betting picks and tips for the Western Conference matchup. Esten Mclaren, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Wild-Stars odds, Dallas slight favorite over Minnesota Tuesday," 29 Oct. 2019 By 2030, the breakdown would be about $2.8 billion extra from the state and $1.2 billion extra combined from the city of Baltimore and the 23 counties. Pamela Wood, baltimoresun.com, "4 key questions about Maryland commission’s proposal to spend billions more on state’s public schools," 16 Oct. 2019 Nietzsche himself had a mental breakdown in middle age. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "Nietzsche’s Eternal Return," 7 Oct. 2019 The wheel route just before halftime, a 37-yarder, set up the lone Southern Miss touchdown was a breakdown. Michael Casagrande | Mcasagrande@al.com, al, "What Nick Saban said after Alabama beat Southern Miss," 21 Sep. 2019 This is a quick breakdown: Is Joe Flacco and the Denver Broncos offense going to put up more than 20 points on the road? Dieter Kurtenbach, The Mercury News, "Week 3 NFL betting guide: Picks against the spread for every game, best totals, and more," 20 Sep. 2019 Trend Micro has a useful breakdown of the three North Korean hacking groups here. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Meet the three North Korean hacking groups funding the country’s weapons programs," 13 Sep. 2019 The poll also has a demographic breakdown of which Americans are more likely to believe that UFOs are alien spacecraft. Fox News, "Americans skeptical of UFOs, say government knows more, poll reveals," 9 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Derek Carr nearly broke down during his postgame interview with Fox television Thursday night. Bruce Jenkins, SFChronicle.com, "NFL can’t be the same without Oakland, San Diego," 8 Nov. 2019 Charley breaks down on a live television show while discussing his writing partnership with Frank. Laura Lippman, Longreads, "The Art of Losing Friends and Alienating People," 8 Nov. 2019 Plasma is later broken down into different products that become pharmaceuticals, like immunoglobulin, many of which can’t be made in a lab. Megan Ryan, STAT, "My life depends on medicine made from plasma. The plasma shortage worries me," 8 Nov. 2019 The American political consensus around the Cold War broke down in the late 1960s, and a great deal of attention focused on its negative aspects for the next two decades. David Kaiser, Time, "The Fall of the Berlin Wall Seemed Like a Victory for Democracy. 30 Years Later, Both Sides Are Losing," 7 Nov. 2019 Especially when a play breaks down, it’s Jhivvan time. Greg Luca, ExpressNews.com, "Jhivvan Jackson ready to reprise dominant scoring role as UTSA opens season," 4 Nov. 2019 Auburn opened the second half against LSU with its longest play from scrimmage this season when D.J. Williams broke down the left sideline for a 70-yard run. Tom Green | Tgreen@al.com, al, "Auburn’s offense gets stuck in the mud in loss to LSU," 27 Oct. 2019 Here’s how the city of Minneapolis breaks down the bill: $400,000 for public safety, largely consisting of police officer overtime, and $130,000 for public works-type expenses, such as bringing in concrete barriers and closing down roads. Ryan Faircloth, Twin Cities, "Trump campaign declares victory in spat, won’t pay for Target Center rally additional security," 8 Oct. 2019 Spidey drama began over the summer, when negotiations broke down between Disney and Sony Pictures over future Spider-Man films, sending fans into panic. Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY, "Tom Holland cried to keep Spider-Man in Marvel movies, Disney CEO Bob Iger jokes," 6 Oct. 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

11 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Breakdown.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/breaks%20down. Accessed 21 November 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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