bro·​ken | \ ˈbrō-kən How to pronounce broken (audio) \

Definition of broken

1 : violently separated into parts : shattered broken windows
2 : damaged or altered by or as if by breaking (see break entry 1): 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
3a : made weak or infirm his old, broken body
b : subdued completely : crushed, sorrowful a broken heart a broken spirit
c : bankrupt
d : reduced in rank was broken from sergeant to private
4a : 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

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Other Words from broken

brokenly adverb
brokenness \ ˈbrō-​kə(n)-​nəs How to pronounce broken (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for broken



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Examples of broken in a Sentence

The street was covered with broken glass. a broken vase that could not be repaired
Recent Examples on the Web Over the next several months Rossano plans to transform this trailer, from scratch, from a broken shell into Rossano’s Pizza 2.0. Phillip Valys,, "He lost his job. Then his pizza truck. Now fans are giving pizzamaker a third chance after devastating crash," 10 May 2021 So far, Vigneault and his friends’ relentless press to achieve bigger thrills has resulted in only a few broken fingers. Paige Reddinger, Robb Report, "The Quest for Adrenaline: What Drives Extreme Athletes to Climb Mountains, Kayak Waterfalls and More," 9 May 2021 Key to success was finding an area where there were 6 to 10 inch mullet jumping and swirling in water 2 to 3 feet deep on broken grass and shell bottom. Frank Sargeant, al, "Wadefishing time on the Alabama coast," 9 May 2021 Creator Meredith Scardino cleverly wedges the fictional group into a farcical yet honest depiction of a whole generation's broken dreams. Darren Franich,, "Girls5Eva review: A solid sitcom that could be more than a nostalgia trip," 3 May 2021 When Molly arrives on Deb’s doorstep, jonesing, desperate, skin pockmarked, teeth rotting, Deb is loath to let her in after years of theft, lies and broken promises. Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times, "Review: Addiction drama ‘Four Good Days’ turns away from the ugliness at a crucial moment," 30 Apr. 2021 In 1993, after years of broken promises, the borough voted (roughly sixty-five per cent in favor) to secede from New York City. Robin Kaiser-schatzlein, The New Yorker, "The History of New York, Told Through Its Trash," 24 Apr. 2021 Amid centuries of broken promises, Native Americans have learned dreams aren’t tangible for them. Danielle Bernabe, Fortune, "How Clubhouse is engaging with Native American communities," 6 Mar. 2021 Nashville is the home of country music and the land of broken dreams. Eric Fuller, Forbes, "Southerland – A New Duo Taking Country Music Back To Its Roots," 28 Feb. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of broken

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for broken

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

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Time Traveler for broken

Time Traveler

The first known use of broken was in the 13th century

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Statistics for broken

Last Updated

13 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Broken.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for broken



English Language Learners Definition of broken

: separated into parts or pieces by being hit, damaged, etc.
: not working properly
: not kept or honored


Kids Definition of broken

 (Entry 1 of 2)

past participle of Break


bro·​ken | \ ˈbrō-kən How to pronounce broken (audio) \

Kids Definition of broken (Entry 2 of 2)

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


bro·​ken | \ ˈbrō-kən How to pronounce broken (audio) \

Medical Definition of broken

: having undergone or been subjected to fracture a broken leg

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Legal Definition of broken

past participle of break

Comments on broken

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