\ ˈbrāk-ˌin How to pronounce break-in (audio) \

Definition of break-in

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the act or action of breaking in a rash of break-ins at the new apartment house
2 : a performance or a series of performances serving as a trial run
3 : an initial period of operation during which working parts begin to function efficiently

break in

broke in; broken in; breaking in; breaks in

Definition of break in (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to enter something (such as a building or computer system) without consent or by force
2a : intrude break in upon his privacy
b : to interrupt a conversation
3 : to start in an activity or enterprise breaking in as a cub reporter

transitive verb

1 : to accustom to a certain activity or occurrence break in the new clerk
2 : to overcome the stiffness or newness of break in a pair of shoes

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for break-in

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of break-in in a Sentence

Verb the burglars broke in by smashing a window he rudely broke in to drop the names of several celebrities that he had met
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Despite Sunday’s season-high 388 total yards (the first time the Bears reached 300 this season), it was broken in the red zone. Brad Biggs,, "Brad Biggs’ 10 thoughts on the Bears’ 17-16 loss to the Chargers," 28 Oct. 2019 Lomada and McNamer weren’t broken once Saturday and got their service breaks in game five of the first set and in the opening game of set two. Lewis Bagley, Indianapolis Star, "Carmel boys tennis gets triple crown with team, singles and doubles state titles," 26 Oct. 2019 Maybe everything will break in favor of the Suns and Ayton, but not many who have followed the team over the last decade have much faith in that. Kent Somers, azcentral, "Deandre Ayton's suspension is a punch in the Phoenix Suns' mouth," 24 Oct. 2019 Will an unbeaten league run of 49 games ever be broken in England?, "On This Day: Arsenal Recorded Their 49th Consecutive Unbeaten Premier League Match," 16 Oct. 2019 Symbolic of the effort put forth by Papesh and his teammates on defense, Aurora did not break in its 31-7 win at Barberton. Matt Goul, cleveland, "No. 10 Aurora flexes Suburban League muscle at No. 14 Barberton, 31-7," 12 Oct. 2019 Add in that the Chargers lost starting center Mike Pouncey for the season, and the traditional run game might not be breaking in Gordon’s favor., "In fantasy football, the art of the deal can be tricky - The Boston Globe," 11 Oct. 2019 Something was broken in the process, but after Bergé loved it, everything was settled. Nadja Sayej, The Hollywood Reporter, "Controversial Decade-Old Documentary on French Fashion Designer Yves Saint Laurent Debuts," 8 Oct. 2019 Records were broken in 164 cities Wednesday as nearly half the country had temperatures above 90. David Begnaud, CBS News, "Record-breaking heat threatens southern crops," 2 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'break-in.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of break-in


1856, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1535, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about break-in

Statistics for break-in

Time Traveler for break-in

The first known use of break-in was circa 1535

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for break-in


How to pronounce break in (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of break-in

: the act or crime of illegally entering a house, building, etc., especially by using force


\ ˈbrāk-ˌin\

Legal Definition of break-in

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the act or action of breaking in

Legal Definition of break in (Entry 2 of 2)

: to enter something (as a building or computer system) without privilege (as consent) or by force

More from Merriam-Webster on break-in

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with break-in

Spanish Central: Translation of break-in

Nglish: Translation of break-in for Spanish Speakers

Comments on break-in

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


a calculated move

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Confusing Words—A Quiz

  • alice with tweedle dee and tweedle dum
  • I invented a brand new toaster robot and ______ it "Sir Toasts-a-Lot."
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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