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

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 Looking to mend her broken heart, Naomie leaves New York and heads back to Charleston. Dave Quinn,, 16 May 2022 Instead of Instagram’s heart-shaped ‘like’ button, Grustnogram offers a broken heart and the option to ‘be sad’. NBC News, 30 Mar. 2022 Many believe chocolate can cure a lot of things, such as a sweet tooth craving and a broken heart. Taylor Pettaway, San Antonio Express-News, 15 Mar. 2022 Just imagine having a serious argument with broken English. Patrick St. Michel, Billboard, 24 Feb. 2022 Who could forget her emotional but relatable scene of watching Dirty Dancing with a broken heart? Katherine Tinsley, Good Housekeeping, 21 Feb. 2022 An immigrant speaking broken English struggling to explain that his landlord wants to evict him for racist reasons. Patrick Forrest, Fortune, 14 Feb. 2022 Platis thought, why not a charm shaped like a heart, a broken heart, that has been mended with gold? San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Feb. 2022 While many hearts heal quickly, Bairey Merz says one in five people who suffers a broken heart will have another attack within 10 years. Devin Dwyer, ABC News, 7 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near broken



broken arch

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Statistics for broken

Last Updated

25 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Broken.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for broken


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


Legal Definition of broken

past participle of break

More from Merriam-Webster on broken

Nglish: Translation of broken for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of broken for Arabic Speakers


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