break off

broke off; broken off; breaking off; breaks off

Definition of break off

intransitive verb

1 : to stop abruptly break off in the middle of a sentence
2 : to become detached branches that broke off in the storm
3 : to end a relationship broke off with his business partner

transitive verb

1 : discontinue break off diplomatic relations
2 : to remove by or as if by breaking broke off a chunk of bread

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Examples of break off in a Sentence

the judge broke off court proceedings until after lunch talks between the two sides broke off when one began making unreasonable demands

Recent Examples on the Web

Any chance of getting injured usually causes a mountain lion to break off an attack. Patrick May, The Mercury News, "Not your neighborhood dog: Coyote sighting near San Bruno school the latest Bay Area wildlife appearance," 15 Aug. 2019 Scattered around were plastic beer cups, an empty corn-chip bag, a cigarette butt, a wire coat hanger, and a rusted metal tube that had broken off a deck chair. Bruce Handy, The New Yorker, "At Last, an Airbnb for Pools," 2 Sep. 2019 Earlier last year workers discovered a 4-inch bolt that had broken off one of the shims designed to help distribute heat inside a canister, and work was stopped for 10 days. San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Onofre owners, contractor and regulators face new lawsuit over fuel storage plan," 30 Aug. 2019 On fourth down, Carr sat in the pocket before heaving a deep throw intended for Williams, who broke off his route before seeing the ball. Matt Kawahara,, "Raiders practice report: Offense stalls in hurry-up; Jacobs makes contact," 6 Aug. 2019 That same demographic shift has helped fuel the growth of the diocese, which broke off from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 1976. Julia Wick, Los Angeles Times, "Crystal Cathedral, the original evangelical megachurch, has a conversion to Catholicism," 21 July 2019 At the start of the protest, about 7 p.m., a splinter group of about 50 people broke off from the main group, crossing a chain-link gate and entering the ICE property. Elise Schmelzer, The Denver Post, "Protest of planned federal immigration roundups draws thousands to Aurora ICE facility," 12 July 2019 That same demographic shift has helped fuel the growth of the Diocese of Orange, which broke off from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 1976. Julia Wick,, "Essential California: How the famed Crystal Cathedral was reborn as a Catholic church," 11 July 2019 The saguaro cactus splintered on impact and the part that broke off ended up partially inside the black sports car, breaking through the windshield and jutting out onto the hood of the vehicle. Fox News, "Giant cactus pierces car windshield on Arizona highway, driver miraculously unhurt," 11 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'break off.' 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 break off

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

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Statistics for break off

Last Updated

17 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for break off

The first known use of break off was in the 14th century

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More from Merriam-Webster on break off

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with break off

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for break off

Britannica English: Translation of break off for Arabic Speakers

Comments on break off

What made you want to look up break off? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to wander slowly or to speak indistinctly

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