break off

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English[edit]

Verb[edit]

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

  1. To end abruptly, either temporarily or permanently.
    • 1898, J. Meade Falkner, Moonfleet Chapter 4
      Then the conversation broke off, and there was little more talking, only a noise of men going backwards and forwards, and of putting down of kegs and the hollow gurgle of good liquor being poured from breakers into the casks.
  2. To remove a piece from a whole by breaking or snapping
    • 1900, L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
      The bees came and found no one but the Woodman to sting, so they flew at him and broke off all their stings against the tin, without hurting the Woodman at all. And as bees cannot live when their stings are broken that was the end of the black bees, and they lay scattered thick about the Woodman, like little heaps of fine coal.

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