Definition of broken-down in English:



  • 1Worn out and dilapidated by age, use, or ill-treatment.

    ‘a broken-down shack’
    • ‘Round up Johannesburg's metro police - those cops who are too idle to help motorists at broken-down traffic lights - give them all shovels and form them into a national pothole-filling brigade.’
    • ‘The 31-year-old builder who transforms broken-down shells into real homes takes a refreshingly unpretentious attitude to interior design simply by denying any knowledge of its principles.’
    • ‘The yards are full of derelict cars, broken-down furniture, sofas with the stuffing bursting out.’
    • ‘He said the side of the stadium which had a broken-down security boundary wall had been replaced and that other areas needing attention would also be sorted out.’
    • ‘The two sisters continue their conversation about why Stella lives in this broken-down old place, how Blanche looks, and why she has arrived in New Orleans.’
    • ‘The trial judge held that it was unreasonable to keep a guard dog to protect a load of old broken-down scrap motor cars.’
    • ‘Open ditches line the streets of the neighborhood and run past overgrown lots and broken-down houses as well as freshly whitewashed cottages and one or two brand new trailers.’
    • ‘The gamin creates their ideal in spirit when she takes the most broken-down shack and tries to make it ‘home.’’
    • ‘Max is a white kid who lives with his grandmother in the village bordering the pulp mill where he meets Swing, a girl from the gypsy caravan on the opposite side of the mill who trades Max a broken-down guitar for his discman.’
    • ‘Cllr White called on the local authority to install CCTV cameras at the site, reinstate the area, repair broken-down signs and resurface the roadway in a very public demonstration that they do care about the area.’
    • ‘Lacking an infrastructure to support his ambitions, though, Heinrich ended his days teaching girls for pennies on a broken-down piano in a garret, and hoping for posthumous understanding.’
    • ‘Pieces of wood, iron, old clothes and broken-down appliances litter the ground, which was soaking wet when the Guardian visited Nakit on Thursday.’
    • ‘He expected that the two could discuss rationally my quitting high school to move into a broken-down apartment building with a male of dubious prospects.’
    • ‘Outside armies have toppled Afghanistan's government and installed a new one, but it controls only its broken-down capital and very little of the vast country beyond.’
    • ‘It took him and other members of the band just a month to convert the broken-down, dirty, desolate looking room over a tailor's shop in Deansgate into a smart, colourful, ballroom.’
    • ‘He told his driver to stop outside a broken-down shack, where an emaciated woman and two young men sat on a porch surrounded by household debris.’
    • ‘Also watched ‘The Smallest Show on Earth,’ a gentle (read: dull) little English comedy about a young couple that inherits a broken-down movie theater.’
    • ‘The team converted the town's clinic into a 24-bed hospital, the only such facility in Kholm, and turned a broken-down hotel into a health clinic.’
    • ‘As the teenagers tentatively waded into the brown muck, a skinny, worn-out alcoholic teetered over from his broken-down pickup.’
    • ‘Traveling for about six hours, crammed into this small, hot, broken-down vehicle, is almost more than I can stand.’
    dilapidated, ramshackle, rickety, tumbledown, run down, worn out, in disrepair, battered, decayed, crumbling, deteriorated, falling to pieces, gone to rack and ruin
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of a machine or vehicle) not functioning, due to mechanical failure.
      • ‘The husband comes home surprised to see the car, broken-down in the yard.’
      • ‘Her job has often seen her in the very unglamorous position of driving to the location of a broken-down vehicle and being there in the middle of the night dealing with the problem.’
      • ‘We could tell from the smell and the noises that our bus was making that it wasn't going to get very far, and it wasn't long before we were all standing on the hard shoulder of the motorway next to a broken-down bus.’
      • ‘Despite this, none of the newer buses has been assigned to the route, so Victoria buses, slow and lumbering old cows, are often broken-down, causing even more frequent delays.’
      • ‘A Stanway traffic police spokesman said: ‘The traffic congestion had been due to broken-down vehicles.’’
      • ‘‘Obviously we are working to repair the fault,’ says the conductor on the broken-down train when the one thing that is blatantly obvious is that no one is doing a blind thing about it.’
      • ‘Holidaymakers had a miracle escape when their coach stayed upright after colliding with a broken-down lorry and plunging into a field near York yesterday.’
      • ‘The incident occurred on the A12 in Essex, and involved a driver hitting a broken-down vehicle stopped at the side of the road.’
      • ‘A broken-down lorry also led to lengthy delays on Friday.’
      • ‘We drove north, broken-down trucks littering the road as we travelled up to the summit of the pass through the mountain.’
      • ‘Anyhow, once they'd got the broken-down train reversed back into the platform, released the trapped passengers and then cleared away some of the crowds, we were on our way and, an hour later, rolling on south towards France.’
      • ‘But road safety campaigners and motoring groups expressed concern about the impact on safety, including whether it could become harder to remove broken-down vehicles from lanes.’
      • ‘He assured me that as a woman on a broken-down bike on the edge of a major A-road, in the middle of nowhere, I'd be a priority.’
      • ‘Lucy Renwick, from Crisicard, said: ‘A crisis means different things to different people from finding a wasps nest in the attic to getting locked out of the house or being miles away from home in a broken-down vehicle.’’
      • ‘In a country with almost no vehicles on its roads, one of the commonest sights is a group of soldiers from the Korean People's Army, peering mournfully into the innards of a broken-down transport.’
      • ‘Even a broken-down dirt digger, bright yellow like a daffodil, was fun to watch as the muddy construction workers tried to get it back into working order.’
      • ‘Encountering numerous problems along the way, Mr Nichols O'Keefe was at one point forced to stay behind in Rome to fix a broken-down bus, having to fly on later to Damascus.’
      • ‘It's melting already, but the traffic's at a crawl and there's a broken-down bus around the corner.’
      • ‘And by the time we came back level with London Bridge station they had towed the broken-down bus out of the way and all the traffic chaos was gone (and our diversion had taken us about half an hour).’
      • ‘The two main problems were supply of fuel and the repair of broken-down vehicles.’
      defective, broken, damaged, faulty, unsound
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 (of a horse) with serious damage to the legs, in particular the tendons, caused by excessive strain.
      • ‘It had a peculiar gait, being likened by a nineteenth-century naturalist to ‘a broken-down hack in a canter, apparently dragging the hindquarters after it.’’
      • ‘During the 1930s three broken down men come together with a broken down horse and inspire a nation that things might look bad but the future can be bright.’
      • ‘We witness the love of a trainer for his boss's wife, of a billionaire for the tantrically adept psychic, of a trainer for a broken-down stallion, of a corrupt owner for money, fame and Jesus.’
      defective, broken, damaged, faulty, unsound
      View synonyms