break down


  • Blazing the trail by bending down and breaking branches
    Blazing the trail by bending down and breaking branches
  • WordNet 3.6
    • v break down collapse due to fatigue, an illness, or a sudden attack
    • v break down separate (substances) into constituent elements or parts
    • v break down stop operating or functioning "The engine finally went","The car died on the road","The bus we travelled in broke down on the way to town","The coffee maker broke","The engine failed on the way to town","her eyesight went after the accident"
    • v break down make a mathematical, chemical, or grammatical analysis of; break down into components or essential features "analyze a specimen","analyze a sentence","analyze a chemical compound"
    • v break down make ineffective "Martin Luther King tried to break down racial discrimination"
    • v break down cause to fall or collapse
    • v break down lose control of one's emotions "When she heard that she had not passed the exam, she lost it completely","When her baby died, she snapped"
    • v break down fall apart "the building crumbled after the explosion","Negotiations broke down"
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:


Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: When Henry Aaron hit his 715th Home Run, breaking Babe Ruth's record, the pitcher who served it up was Al Downing of the Los Angeles Dodgers. They were both wearing number 44.
    • Break down to crush down or level: to collapse, to fail completely
    • ***


  • Lena Horne
    Lena Horne
    “It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it.”
  • Oprah Winfrey
    “Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”
  • Claude M. Bristol
    “It's the constant and determined effort that breaks down all resistance, sweeps away all obstacles.”
  • Fitzhugh Dodson
    Fitzhugh Dodson
    “First you write down your goal; your second job is to break down your goal into a series of steps, beginning with steps which are absurdly easy.”
  • Russell (Wayne) Baker
    Russell (Wayne) Baker
    “Inanimate objects are classified scientifically into three major categories -- those that don't work, those that break down and those that get lost.”
  • Richard Deupree
    Richard Deupree
    “Part of my job is to train people to break down an involved question into a series of simple matters. Then we can all act intelligently”


Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. brecan; Ger. brechen.


In literature:

It is not the "honor man" who breaks down at college, but he who leads an irregular and idle life.
"The Education of American Girls" by Anna Callender Brackett
It would be wise to take Black Adder too, in case one of our steeds breaks down.
"Crown and Sceptre" by George Manville Fenn
My wonder was and is that we did not go down, or break to pieces.
"Taking Tales" by W.H.G. Kingston
Any breaking down of this order indicates a mistake in the union, or a digression from duty.
"Searchlights on Health: Light on Dark Corners" by B.G. Jefferis
The whole fabric will break down of its own weight.
"Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great Philosophers, Volume 8" by Elbert Hubbard
Gresth Gkae felt certain if he could once crack this nut, break down Earth, he would have the system.
"The Ultimate Weapon" by John Wood Campbell
You will see I shan't break down again.
"A Girl of the Commune" by George Alfred Henty
Tears, however embarrassing, have a way of breaking down barriers and Bruce impulsively took in his the other hand that lay in her lap.
"The Man from the Bitter Roots" by Caroline Lockhart
Then the barriers of self-restraint began to break down.
"The Snowshoe Trail" by Edison Marshall
Here's one of our vines loaded and breaking down with grapes.
"The Peril Finders" by George Manville Fenn

In poetry:

A Red chief dwelling near a lake,
Beneath a Western sky,
Felt soon his hold on life must break,
And he lay down and die —
"Paddle Your Own Canoe" by James Madison Bell
What stir across the haze of heat?
What omen down the wind?
The buck that break before my feet—
They know, but I am blind!
"The Watcher" by Rudyard Kipling
"So you love me? You are mine?
Break from yon dead tree a bough,
Lay it down among these roses—
Ah! I do not charm you now!"
""Fan Me With Lilies Fair"" by Elizabeth Drew Barstow Stoddard
Or, when the lightnin' flashes raw,
And starts the herd a-flyin',
He's off to head 'em down the draw,
Or break your neck, a-tryin'.
"The Bronco" by Henry Herbert Knibbs
Now high aloft above the town
The thick clouds gather and break,
A flash, a roar, and rain drives down:
Aghast the young things wake.
"Thunder At Night" by Robert Graves
Bound down with twice ten thousand ties,
Yet let me hear Thy call;
My soul in confidence shall rise,
Shall rise and break through all.
"What Though I Cannot Break My Chain" by Augustus Montague Toplady

In news:

John Manuel and Will Lingo reminisce about old times, compare some Red Sox prospects, break down the Jeff Samardzija situation, talk trades and hit on other topics.
We Break Down the Sport Sedan Matchup to Watch in 2012.
Jon Stewart breaks down Obama's "you didn't build that" controversy.
Washington Watch Breaks Down America With Top Black Comedians.
Rece Davis, Jay Bilas and Hubert Davis break down the importance of Peyton Siva for Louisville's 59-56 win over New Mexico.
How the 2012 budget breaks down.
Guitarist Jim Babjak Breaks Down 11 Essential Smithereens Tracks.
Armed with small paring knives, Chef Anthony Gray and Sous Michael Wutz break down a whole pig in minutes.
That scene from Cast Away where Tom Hanks' character breaks down when his volleyball "Wilson" drifts away in the ocean, still chokes me up.
Escalators break down at Rosslyn station.
We're breaking down the new requirements, so you know what to expect.
We break down next month's events, detail which breeders are exhibiting elsewhere, who's not exhibiting and which destinations are expected to be the biggest.
ESPNBoston's Chris Forsberg breaks down why the Celtics didn't make any moves leading up to the NBA trade deadline.
"When two chil­dren under the age of 13 engage in sex­ual con­duct with each other, each child is both an offender and a vic­tim, and the dis­tinc­tion between those two terms breaks down.".
Tom Luginbill breaks down what he saw from Max Staver (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood Academy) at the Atlanta Elite 11 camp.

In science:

The only remaining difference in technique is that M89 used a slightly different formula for the radial velocity, which breaks down for e > 0.1.
A TiO study of the dwarf nova IP Pegasi
Because the opacity deep in the atmosphere is smaller than at the photosphere, the hydrostatic structure we calculate breaks down only in the very upper layers near the photosphere.
Rotational Evolution During Type I X-Ray Bursts
Note that this result is expected to break down below a frequency scale 1/τtr ≪ T when a small but non-zero J z interaction is turned on (see Sec.
Dynamics and transport in random quantum systems governed by strong-randomness fixed points
This gives us a frequency scale below which our T 6= 0 free-fermion results are expected to break down as a result of the residual interaction effects.
Dynamics and transport in random quantum systems governed by strong-randomness fixed points
In this regime standard geometric tools risk to break down, and the fact that CFT provides independent information is definitely much welcome.
Conformal field theory, boundary conditions and applications to string theory