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’
    • ‘I broke a piece off of the pretzel and offered it to him in my palm, face up.’
    • ‘I break some small pieces off, and sprinkle them onto the surface of the water, and wait, tensed with excitement.’
    • ‘You break pieces off, and one or two of the more co-operative chimps would come down.’
    • ‘Those collisions break pieces off of satellites and hence create new fragments that in turn can collide with still other satellites.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Remove old flowers on the plants by carefully breaking them off.’
    • ‘She broke another piece off and shoved it in her mouth.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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’
    • ‘He has been engaged twice but both women broke it off abruptly before the wedding.’
    • ‘But, for unknown reasons, the affair was broken off soon after the interview.’
    • ‘Negotiations could be broken off at any stage if they failed to move in the right direction.’
    • ‘Our relationship lasted for nearly a year before I broke it off.’
    • ‘She temporarily broke the relationship off in the early stages, alarmed by the sudden intensity it had taken on.’
    • ‘Deciding that events had overtaken them they broke the meeting off.’
    • ‘The first attack took place after diplomatic relations had been broken off but before the formal declaration of war.’
    • ‘Bryan and I have decided to completely break our relationship off for good.’
    • ‘I broke things off with him because, while he's nice to look at, I don't enjoy spending time with him.’
    • ‘The sale negotiations were broken off in August 2000 and the Bulgarian Government said the offered price was too low.’
    end, bring to an end, terminate, put an end to, call a halt to, stop, cease, finish, dissolve
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