Definition of break into in US English:

break into

phrasal verb

  • 1Enter or open (a place, vehicle, or container) forcibly, especially for the purposes of theft.

    ‘a friend of mine had his car broken into’
    ‘four men broke into the house’
    • ‘Burglars broke into the house by forcing open a conservatory window and a door leading into the kitchen.’
    • ‘In Italy, four armed burglars broke into a man's house.’
    • ‘But if we catch somebody red-handed snatching an old lady's bag, or breaking into a vehicle in the street, we've got every right to apprehend them.’
    • ‘They broke into the vehicles by smashing the windows, causing more than £600 damage in total.’
    • ‘While he parked at the Trafford Centre to buy a birthday present, thieves broke into the vehicle to seize the laptop, discs and a camera.’
    • ‘Residents on a York housing estate woke up to a scene of destruction after thieves broke into a string of vehicles in a private car park.’
    • ‘Last night while I was down here with you lot, a burglar broke into my house.’
    • ‘In a terrifying incident in 1988, armed raiders broke into her house and threatened her family at gunpoint.’
    • ‘Detectives are appealing for information after burglars broke into a house and stole a safe containing items worth £10,000.’
    • ‘Thieves broke into the house through the kitchen window and took a stereo and a tool box.’
    burgle, rob
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    1. 1.1 Succeed in winning a share of (a market or a position in a profession)
      ‘Japanese companies failed to break into the US personal-computer market’
      • ‘Reports from the US say the company is setting aside $50 million to break into the Russian market this year.’
      • ‘It also showed that Chinese companies are serious about breaking into the European market.’
      • ‘Chinese companies attempting to break into overseas markets are desperately trying to buy or build global brands.’
      • ‘She broke into a position normally held by retired military officers or well-connected businessmen.’
      • ‘It is hoped that information gained from the three-year project will be used by other farmers who want to break into the organic market.’
      • ‘Australian exporters keen on breaking into the Japanese market can still find plenty of opportunities.’
      • ‘They're breaking into new markets, launching new products, and starting to think about deals.’
      • ‘They can offer advice, support and expertise to help companies break into overseas markets.’
      • ‘I've been in the business for more than 10 years, but I am having a tough time breaking into an upper-management position.’
      • ‘But there is a lot of competition in that area, it's difficult to break into a market when you only have a few customers.’
    2. 1.2 Interrupt (a conversation).
      • ‘She ignored his apprehension and broke into their conversation boldly.’
      • ‘He started to protest again when Harriman broke into the middle of the conversation.’
      • ‘He had to break into the conversation to make a point.’
      • ‘Dr. Connelly cleared his throat, breaking into their conversation and making them looked up at him.’
      • ‘Kaitlin nodded, finally seeing a chance to break into the conversation.’
      • ‘He walked up and broke into the conversation to let me know that his name was Alex and I would have to leave the premises immediately.’
      • ‘The young sheriff scratched his head and the well-dressed man broke into the conversation.’
      • ‘Bert decided this would be a good time to break into the conversation, ‘How was your day?’’
      • ‘She broke into the conversation with her usual want of tact.’
      • ‘They were all trying to find a way to break into the conversation.’
      interrupt, butt into, cut in on, intervene in
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  • 2(of a person) suddenly or unexpectedly burst forth into (laughter or song).

    • ‘All three broke into laughing, but were interrupted by the doorbell ringing.’
    • ‘The two girls broke into sudden and unexpected laughter.’
    • ‘He interrupts conversations by breaking into song.’
    • ‘And as easily as speaking, she broke into a song that touched the hearts of all those present.’
    • ‘At various points along the way, the group spontaneously broke into song.’
    • ‘She barely finished the sentence before breaking into another fit of laughter.’
    • ‘This appeared to be some sort of private joke because they all suddenly broke into laughter.’
    • ‘He was stunned at first, then broke into a fit of laughter.’
    • ‘I just hoped she wouldn't suddenly break into song.’
    • ‘Like any musical, it never seems strange when someone breaks into song, accompanied by an entire orchestra that nobody can actually see.’
    begin suddenly, burst into, launch into
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    1. 2.1 (of a person's face or mouth) relax into (a smile).
      • ‘And he breaks into a smile for the first time today.’
      • ‘The kid broke into a sweet smile on hearing the joke, and with that the old man gave him a bear hug, covering his cheeks with kisses amid joyful tears.’
      • ‘Her wizened face broke into a smile as she took in the sight of the three of them on her doorstep, ‘Visitors!’’
      • ‘He then breaks into a big smile, as if to reassure me he is only teasing.’
      • ‘Her face broke into an uneasy smile as she looked at him, standing tall at 6 feet, with a slim yet athletic build and a devilish glint in his eyes.’
      • ‘‘You are lucky,’ the doctor said, breaking into a smile.’
      • ‘She is petite, blonde and quick to break into a sunny smile.’
      • ‘Her face brightened and her eyes lit up as her mouth broke into a smile.’
      • ‘To my astonishment, his usual calm smile broke into a wide mischievous grin.’
      • ‘She pulled open the door and felt her mouth break into a rather large grin.’
  • 3Change one's pace to (a faster one)

    ‘Greg broke into a sprint’
    • ‘He then broke into a sprint, knocking the remnants of the door completely off its hinges, and he sped down the staircase into the secret basement.’
    • ‘She ducked down an alley, got out of sight of the main crowd, then broke into a sprint.’
    • ‘Ryan stormed down the street and Caleb stared after him in shock then he abruptly let go of Emma, broke into a run and sprinted after Ryan as if the devil was on his heels.’
    • ‘I broke into a sprint and ran the rest of the way home.’
    • ‘I keep my pace quite fast without breaking into a jog, just to get my heart rate up.’
    • ‘As soon as James was out of sight of the main room, he broke into a run, sprinting down the hall and throwing the door open.’
    • ‘He breaks into a sprint and dashes across the finishing line.’
    • ‘Arin broke into a sprint, heading down the dark passage.’
    • ‘‘Let's go,’ said Leon as he broke into a sprint, followed closely by his father and brother.’
    • ‘A tear dropped, I started walking faster, and then faster until eventually I broke into a sprint and ran as fast as I could.’