Definition of break something off in English:

break something off

phrasal verb

  • 1Remove something from a larger unit or whole:

    ‘Tucker broke off a piece of bread’
    • ‘You break pieces off, and one or two of the more co-operative chimps would come down.’
    • ‘I broke a piece off of the pretzel and offered it to him in my palm, face up.’
    • ‘Those collisions break pieces off of satellites and hence create new fragments that in turn can collide with still other satellites.’
    • ‘Growing plants are influenced strongly by their environment - some leaves grow more strongly than others because of the light falling on them; some buds are chewed by herbivores, and whole branches are broken off.’
    • ‘When removing the pepper from the vine, cutting or breaking it off work equally as well.’
    • ‘You will probably have noticed that when you take a branch from certain trees (some conifers for example), the branch looks like a miniature version of the tree, and when you break a piece off the branch, that looks like a tree too.’
    • ‘I break some small pieces off, and sprinkle them onto the surface of the water, and wait, tensed with excitement.’
    • ‘She broke another piece off and shoved it in her mouth.’
    • ‘Remove old flowers on the plants by carefully breaking them off.’
    • ‘Jeremy broke a piece off for her and handed it to her very politely.’
    snap off, pull off, sever, detach, separate
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  • 2Abruptly end or discontinue something:

    ‘Britain threatened to break off diplomatic relations’
    • ‘Our relationship lasted for nearly a year before I broke it off.’
    • ‘The sale negotiations were broken off in August 2000 and the Bulgarian Government said the offered price was too low.’
    • ‘He has been engaged twice but both women broke it off abruptly before the wedding.’
    • ‘Deciding that events had overtaken them they broke the meeting off.’
    • ‘Bryan and I have decided to completely break our relationship off for good.’
    • ‘But, for unknown reasons, the affair was broken off soon after the interview.’
    • ‘The first attack took place after diplomatic relations had been broken off but before the formal declaration of war.’
    • ‘She temporarily broke the relationship off in the early stages, alarmed by the sudden intensity it had taken on.’
    • ‘I broke things off with him because, while he's nice to look at, I don't enjoy spending time with him.’
    • ‘Negotiations could be broken off at any stage if they failed to move in the right direction.’
    end, bring to an end, terminate, put an end to, call a halt to, stop, cease, finish, dissolve
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