Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
- (mechanics) The point at which the increasing strain in a material causes it to break
- (figuratively) A moment of crisis, particulary one precipitated by a "last straw"
2012 November 20, Nina Bernstein, “Storm Bared a Lack of Options for the Homeless in New York”, New York Times:
- Even before Hurricane Sandy, New York was sheltering more homeless people than any city in the United States: a record 47,000 women, men and children, in a system strained to the breaking point.