broken

adjective bro·ken \ ˈbrō-kən \
Updated on: 14 Nov 2017

Definition of broken

1 :violently separated into parts :shattered
  • broken windows
2 :damaged or altered by or as if by breaking (see 1break): such as
a :having undergone or been subjected to fracture
  • a broken leg
b :not working properly
  • a broken camera
c of land surfaces :being irregular, interrupted, or full of obstacles
  • a long broken ridge
d :violated by transgression :not kept or honored
  • a broken promise
e :discontinuous, interrupted
  • a broken sleep
f :disrupted by change
g of a tulip flower :having an irregular, streaked, or blotched pattern especially from virus infection
3 a :made weak or infirm
  • his old, broken body
b :subdued completely :crushed, sorrowful
  • a broken heart
  • a broken spirit
d :reduced in rank
  • was broken from sergeant to private
4 a :cut off :disconnected
  • spoke a few broken words
b :imperfectly spoken or written
  • broken English
5 :not complete or full
  • a broken bale of hay
6 :disunited by divorce, separation, or desertion of one parent
  • children from broken homes
  • a broken family

brokenly

adverb

brokenness

play \-kə(n)-nəs\ noun

Examples of broken in a Sentence

  1. The street was covered with broken glass.

  2. a broken vase that could not be repaired

Recent Examples of broken from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of broken

Middle English, from Old English brocen, from past participle of brecan to break



BROKEN Defined for English Language Learners

broken

adjective

Definition of broken for English Language Learners

  • : separated into parts or pieces by being hit, damaged, etc.

  • : not working properly

  • : not kept or honored


BROKEN Defined for Kids

1

broken

Definition of broken for Students

  • past participle of Break

2

broken

adjective bro·ken \ ˈbrō-kən \

Definition of broken for Students

1 :separated into parts or pieces
  • broken glass
  • a broken bone
2 :not working properly
  • a broken camera
3 :having gaps or breaks
  • a broken line
4 :not kept or followed
  • a broken promise
5 :imperfectly spoken
  • broken English

Medical Dictionary

broken

adjective bro·ken \ ˈbrō-kən \

medical Definition of broken

:having undergone or been subjected to fracture
  • a broken leg

Law Dictionary

broken

legal Definition of broken

  • past participle of break


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to buzz or drone

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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