Definition of break away in US English:

break away

phrasal verb

  • 1(of a person) escape from someone's hold.

    • ‘‘You need sleep,’ I said, breaking away from him and opening the door.’
    • ‘He broke away abruptly and held her arms so she couldn't move away.’
    • ‘He broke away from Conor and raced into the bushes, fading into the shadows.’
    • ‘I broke away, eyes opening slowly to see what damage had truly been done.’
    • ‘She was too stunned to move for a moment before she broke away from him.’
    • ‘He was trying to break away from the officer and get at the other man.’
    • ‘I broke away from Tobias, moving to attack again.’
    • ‘She struggled and eventually broke away, and twirling out of his grasp, moved in the direction of her room, turning back to face him one final time.’
    • ‘The victim managed to break away from the assailants and ran off.’
    • ‘‘Yeah, well, it's a day of love,’ I said wryly, breaking away from them and opening the nearest door to the courtyard.’
    escape, get away, run away, make a break for it, make a run for it, run for it, make one's getaway, flee, make off
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    1. 1.1 Escape from the control of a person, group, or practice.
      ‘an attempt to break away from the elitism that has dominated the book trade’
      • ‘Refusing to negotiate with the rebels who are fighting to break away from Russia, Putin has embarked on a ‘hear no evil, see no evil’ strategy.’
      • ‘‘But I don't want to break away from the convention,’ says Ms. Nair.’
      • ‘And while alcohol remains the most damaging to society, there has been an increase in people using extreme drugs to break away from reality in new ways.’
      • ‘She said the problem had its roots in teenagers, some of whom might have problems at home, trying to break away from parental control.’
      • ‘Girls had to break away from the bonds of home and family to be free to do what they wanted.’
      • ‘A larger drug gang had drawn him into the trade and his client was threatened with violence if he attempted to break away.’
      • ‘After the February Revolution the Church saw an opportunity to break away from state control without sacrificing the privileges which cooperation with the state had obtained.’
      • ‘It provides knowledge, motivation and, most of all, an opportunity for poor people to break away from poverty.’
      • ‘These larger First Division clubs now want to break away to negotiate a separate TV deal.’
      • ‘Leading ex-ministers began to contemplate breaking away from Labour to form a new party.’
      leave, secede from, break with, split with, split off from, separate from, separate oneself from, detach oneself from, part company with, disaffiliate from, defect from, desert
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    2. 1.2 (of a competitor in a race) move into the lead.
      • ‘But I was able to race well and make sure no-one broke away without me being there.’
      • ‘But Australia and Germany broke away early on to move a lap ahead of the field.’
      • ‘Piil was in a group of nine riders who broke away from the main pack just 16 km into the race.’
      • ‘However, at the start of the second lap five riders broke away stretching their lead to around 20 seconds.’
      • ‘After the peloton came back together there were many fruitless attempts to break away and the peloton arrived in Barcelona compact.’
      • ‘With eight kilometers left in the race seven women broke away from the main peloton.’
      • ‘There were several attempts to try and break away on the first climb of the day but they were all neutralized.’
      • ‘Riders have to pick their moments to break away from the pack - and their rivals must deduce when that will happen and react accordingly.’
      • ‘The men raced over a snowy 12k route and a group of 4 broke away early on and maintained their lead to the finish.’
      • ‘France broke away to a slight early lead holding it through the first half of the race.’
    3. 1.3 (of a material or object) become detached from its base, typically through decay or under force.
      • ‘It is formed from snow falling in the interior of the Antarctic which compacts into ice. The ice sheet slowly moves towards the coast, eventually breaking away as icebergs which gradually melt into the sea.’
      • ‘Antarctica, which is about twice the size of Australia, was connected to New Zealand until 90 million years ago, when New Zealand broke away and moved to its current position.’