break down

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See also: breakdown and break-down



break down (plural break downs)

  1. Alternative form of breakdown.


break down (third-person singular simple present breaks down, present participle breaking down, simple past broke down, past participle broke down, broken down or (informal) broke down)

  1. (intransitive) to fail, to cease to function
    I am afraid my computer will break down if I try to run it at too high a speed.
  2. (ergative, figuratively) to render or to become unstable due to stress, to collapse physically or mentally
    She is back to work now, after she broke down the other day.
  3. (ergative, figuratively) to render or to become weak and ineffective
    His authority and influence over his coordinates broke down gradually.
    • 2012 June 2, Phil McNulty, “England 1-0 Belgium”, BBC Sport:
      Hodgson's approach may not illuminate proceedings in Poland and Ukraine but early evidence suggests they will be tough to break down.
  4. (ergative) (to cause) to decay, to decompose
    Leaves and grass will break down into compost faster if you keep them moist.
  5. (ergative, figuratively) to divide into parts to give more details, to provide a more indepth analysis of
    If you don't understand, ask him to break down the numbers for you.
  6. (ergative) to digest
    His stomach took a while to break down his food.

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