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See also: Broken





  1. past participle of break


broken (comparative more broken, superlative most broken)

  1. Fragmented, in separate pieces.
    1. (of a bone or body part) Fractured; having the bone in pieces.
      My arm is broken!
      the ground was littered with broken bones
    2. (of skin) Split or ruptured.
      A dog bit my leg and now the skin is broken.
    3. (of a line) Dashed, made up of short lines with small gaps between each one and the next.
    4. (of sleep) Interrupted; not continuous.
      • (Can we date this quote?), Jack London, White Fang:
        Then the circle would lie down again, and here and there a wolf would resume its broken nap.
    5. (meteorology, of the sky) Five-eighths to seven-eighths obscured by clouds; incompletely covered by clouds.
      Tomorrow: broken skies.
  2. (of a promise, etc) Breeched; violated; not kept.
    broken promises of neutrality, broken vows, the broken covenant
  3. Non-functional; not functioning properly.
    I think my doorbell is broken.
    1. (of an electronic connection) Disconnected, no longer open or carrying traffic.
    2. (software, informal) Badly designed or implemented.
      This is the most broken application I've seen in a long time.
    3. (pejorative, of language) Grammatically non-standard, especially as a result of being a non-native speaker.
    4. (colloquial, US, of a situation) Not having gone in the way intended; saddening.
      Oh man! That is just broken!
  4. (of a person) Completely defeated and dispirited; shattered; destroyed.
    The bankruptcy and divorce, together with the death of his son, left him completely broken.
  5. Having no money; bankrupt, broke.
    (The addition of quotations indicative of this usage is being sought):
  6. (of land) Uneven.
    • 2005, Will Cook, Until Darkness Disappears, page 54:
      All that day they rode into broken land. The prairie with its grass and rolling hills was behind them, and they entered a sparse, dry, rocky country, full of draws and short cañons and ominous buttresses.
  7. (sports and gaming, of a tactic or option) Overpowered; overly powerful; too powerful.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Nouns to which "broken" is often applied: glass, vase, cup, mirror, window, bone, wing, leg, arm, hand, foot, heart, egg, tool, sword, column, road, bridge, stick, device, machine, camera, TV, car, computer, promise, vow, law, trust, dream, relationship, friendship, love, family, marriage, bond, tie, silence, ground, land, circle, image, language, spirit, soul.


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Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

External links[edit]

  • broken at OneLook Dictionary Search


Most common English words before 1923 in Project Gutenberg: follow · chance · happened · #641: broken · trouble · die · arm