Thesaurus

break down

verb

Synonyms & Antonyms of break down

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 to arrange or assign according to type
  • when presented with the pile of files, the first thing he did was to break them down by month, order within the month, and region

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2 to go through decomposition
  • the enamel of a human tooth will begin to break down when exposed to sugar for too long

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3 to identify and examine the basic elements or parts of (something) especially for discovering interrelationships
  • if we break the problem down into what appear to be three aspects of it, we'll have a better chance of solving it

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4 to stop functioning
  • the computer finally broke down and had to be replaced

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5 to yield to mental or emotional stress
  • began to break down when he realized that he was on the verge of bankruptcy

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6 to take apart
  • the crew was breaking down the party tent when we arrived

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7 to cause to break with violence and much noise
  • firefighters had to break down the wall to rescue the kitten

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breakdown

noun

Synonyms & Antonyms of breakdown (Entry 2 of 2)

1 a mental or nervous collapse
  • if you don't ease your workload, you're going to have a breakdown

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2 the process by which dead organic matter separates into simpler substances
  • the breakdown of the body was arrested by the embalming process

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Frequently Asked Questions About break down

How is the word break down distinct from other similar verbs?

The words analyze and dissect are common synonyms of break down. While all three words mean "to divide a complex whole into its parts or elements," break down implies a reducing to simpler parts or divisions.

break down the budget

When is it sensible to use analyze instead of break down?

Although the words analyze and break down have much in common, analyze suggests separating or distinguishing the component parts of something (such as a substance, a process, a situation) so as to discover its true nature or inner relationships.

analyzed the collected data

When could dissect be used to replace break down?

While in some cases nearly identical to break down, dissect suggests a searching analysis by laying bare parts or pieces for individual scrutiny.

commentators dissected every word of the speech

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Time Traveler for break down

Time Traveler

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

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Cite this Entry

“Break down.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/break%20down. Accessed 10 Aug. 2020.

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More from Merriam-Webster on break down

Dictionary: Definition of break down

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with break down

Medical Dictionary: Definition of break down

Spanish Central: Translation of break down

Nglish: Translation of break down for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of break down for Arabic Speakers

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